Stephen Glover's hopes of launching a new national daily newspaper are fading after the City gave a thumbs-down to his latest fundraising attempts.
The media pundit is planning to approach the bidders who lost out to the Barclay brothers in the auction of the Telegraph titles. This is despite being rebuffed by the same groups three months ago when he first trawled the City for backers.
Mr Glover, a columnist for The Spectator and the Daily Mail, claims to have raised around £2m and is looking for another £16m for the upmarket compact-sized paper, provisionally entitled "The World".
He will send out a new investment memorandum for the project later this month, and has appointed investment boutique Cardona Lloyd to advise him on the fundraising. But well-placed sources say stockbroker Collins Stewart, private equity groups 3i, Candover and Cinven, and German media group Axel Springer, which all dropped out of the Telegraph bidding, will still not support the project. The position of private equity groups Apax and CVC, Express owner Richard Desmond and the Daily Mail & General Trust is unclear.
Collins Stewart and 3i were both approached around three months ago, and declined to provide funds for "The World". Failure to land the Telegraph titles has not changed their minds. A spokeswoman for Axel Springer, which is still looking at potential investments in the UK news- paper market, said its position had not changed either. "We came to the conclusion that we will not go into further negotiations about three months ago."
Cinven and Candover are unlikely to support "The World" because they do not invest in start-up companies.
Andrew Neil, the editor-in-chief of The Scotsman and The Business, both owned by the Barclay brothers, said: "You have to be either brave or foolhardy to think about launching a newspaper in this market. If you think you can do it on £15m, then you are on another planet."
The Barclays bought Sunday Business, later renamed The Business, in 1998. It has yet to make a profit. It is expected to make a reduced £6m loss this year. "There is no technique that Glover can employ that we haven't used. Nobody is leaner and meaner than we are," Mr Neil added.