What will the twins do next?

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The Independent Online
Twins David and Frederick Barclay, owners of the Ritz hotel in London, are two of Britain's richest men. Yet such is their distaste for publicity there has only been one photograph published of them.

Their secretiveness, which has earned them the title of the "invisible men", is the more surprising given their aspirations to become media moguls. The twins, aged 63, are sitting on a war chest of pounds 750m after the sale this year of their shipping line Gotaas-Larsen, and through their new mouthpiece, Andrew Neil - editor-in-chief of their two newspapers, The European and The Scotsman - they have let it be known they want to buy a daily London newspaper.

This year the twins also bought the title of the failed Sunday Business, which they plan to re-launch early next year. Downing Street sources say Tony Blair wants to see them make a grab for The Daily Telegraph. They have already tried to buy The Independent but Tony O'Reilly, one of the paper's main shareholders, has made it clear he doesn't want to sell.

The twins, firm friends of Margaret Thatcher, made their fortune in the Bayswater property market in the Eighties. The also own the Mirabeau hotel in Monte Carlo, the Howard hotel in London and a stake in Motown records.

They live in Monaco and on the Channel island of Brechou, which they own, and where they have built their own full-size Gothic castle. This year they successfully sued the journalist John Sweeney for invading their privacy on the island.

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