Barclays in West Ferry deal with Desmond

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The Independent Online

Sir Frederick and Sir David Barclay, the new owners of the Telegraph, yesterday brokered a vital peace treaty over the West Ferry printing press where the newspaper is produced - securing the continuation of a partnership with its co-owner, Richard Desmond.

Mr Desmond, the maverick owner of the Express newspapers, had threatened to take over the whole of the printing business using a clause that gave him rights to full ownership after the Telegraph was sold. The Barclay brothers won the bid battle for the newspaper in June and began talks with Mr Desmond to stave off an acrimonious legal battle over the ownership of West Ferry. Relations between Telegraph executives and Mr Desmond broke down earlier this year.

But Mr Desmond announced yesterday: "In the Barclays we have found like-minded business people with whom we can work. This will be a strong partnership between two private companies ensuring the long-term success of the plant."

It is understood that Murdoch MacLennan, the newly appointed chief executive of the Telegraph group, was key to the negotiations. He is a former managing director of Associated Newspapers and previously ran its printing division. He is thought to have similar views on running West Ferry to those of Mr Desmond.