Barclays' success puts the Telegraph editorship in focus

LONDON – Martin Newland, editor of The Daily Telegraph, is expected to be one of the first to go if the Barclay brothers' £665m deal goes through, with BBC's business editor Jeff Randall being tipped as the man to take over.

Newland only took over the editor's job at the Daily Telegraph in October, when Charles Moore stepped down eight years after he took over from Max Hastings.

Newland had only been in the job for little more than a month before stories started appearing suggesting a sell-off of the Telegraph Group, following the first signs of financial problems at Hollinger in November when Lord Black said he was retiring and that several other board members were resigning in the wake of revelations that $32.15m in unauthorised payments had been made to executives at Hollinger, including $7.2m to Lord Black.

This was followed by a string of bidders -- including former Telegraph managing director Stephen Grabiner, Express Newspapers owner Richard Desmond and the Daily Mail -- coming forward as potential suitors for the Telegraph Group.

In January, the Barclay brothers, owners of the Ritz Hotel, launched an audacious bid to win control of Hollinger Inc, the company that owns the Daily Telegraph, in a deal valued at around £260m.

It was not long after this that questions began to be raised about Newland's future at the paper. He had been a surprise choice for editor of the Daily Telegraph, which had been predicted to plump for either bumbling Tory MP and Spectator editor Boris Johnson, or The Sunday Telegraph editor Dominic Lawson.

Instead, Moore was replaced by Martin Newland, a relative unknown in the Conrad Black empire. Newland is a former home editor of the Telegraph and deputy editor of the Canadian title The National Post.

Early reports, dating back towards the beginning of the year when the interest of the Barclay brothers was first known, suggested the BBC's business editor Randall had impressed the brothers during a stint editing Sunday Business, now The Business.

Sir David Barclay has also praised the editor of The Sunday Telegraph, Lawson, who has long wanted to become the editor of the daily title.

There is also the question of The Spectator magazine. Senior executives at The Spectator, including Johnson and publishing director Kimberly Fortier, are still said to be interested in staging a management buyout of the title if a new owner intends to sell it.

There is also speculation about whether Andrew Neil, the former Sunday Times editor and the editor-in-chief of the Barclays' titles, will be given a role at the Telegraph Group, although he is said to have played no part in the Barclays' discussions with Lord Black.

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