Six submit offers for Telegraph newspapers

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The Independent Online

At least half a dozen UK bidders put in offers for The Daily Telegraph andSunday Telegraph by yesterday's deadline.

It is thought that most bidders are offering about £475m, although Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell, which bid earlier in the week, is believed to have offered more than £500m. Other bidders yesterday included Daily Mail & General Trust, Collins Stewart and at least three private equity houses: 3i, Candover and Apax Partners.

Lazard, the investment bank that is auctioning the assets of Hollinger International, which includes the UK national newspapers, had set a deadline of 5pm for offers. The deadline was for the first round of offers, where interested parties were given limited information on the assets. The bids were indicative offers and entailed no commitment.

However, sources close to many of the bidders said they recognised the process might be academic if a US court case upheld a separate deal by the Barclay brothers, who last month agreed to buy a controlling interest in Hollinger International from the company's former chairman, Lord Black of Crossharbour.

"We're in this just in case," said one bidder.

"We don't want to shut ourselves out and there's no commitment at this stage."

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