Telegraph suitors given 19 July deadline in £600m bidding war

Prospective bidders for The Daily Telegraph have been told to submit indicative offers by 19 July if they want to take control of two of Britain's most influential newspaper titles.

Sky News has learnt that interested parties have been given the deadline, which comes barely two weeks after the general election, as they seek to assemble financing for their bids.

The auction of the Telegraph titles and The Spectator magazine has been launched by RedBird IMI, the Abu Dhabi state-backed vehicle which struck a deal earlier this year to take control of the assets.

Its ambitions were thwarted, however, by government intervention amid a backlash over the prospect of a foreign state effectively owning prominent national newspapers.

Confirming the launch of the auction last week, a RedBird IMI spokesman said: "Prospective owners are now able to submit their initial bids from today.

"This has been a thorough process which involved speaking to interested parties from around the globe and it is no surprise that interest has remained extremely strong."

The bidders are expected to include Sir Paul Marshall, the hedge fund tycoon, and Lord Rothermere, the Daily Mail proprietor.

David Montgomery's National World is also likely to be among the suitors.

The fate of the Telegraph, historically a staunch Conservative Party backer, has been up in the air for close to a year after Lloyds Banking Group seized control of its parent companies after the Barclays fell behind on debt repayments.

Earlier this year, Sky News revealed that Raine Group, best-known in Britain for its roles in recent deals involving Manchester United and Chelsea football clubs, and Robey Warshaw are being lined up to advise on the next phase of the Telegraph's ownership.

RedBird IMI declined to comment on the bid deadline.