Telegraph Media Group owner David Barclay has died at 86

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British billionaire and Daily Telegraph co-owner David Barclay has died unexpectedly following a short illness, aged 86.

David and Frederick Barclay, who are twins, bought the proprietorship of the Telegraph Media Group in 2004 after venturing into media ownership in 1992.

The pair had become two of the most successful British businessmen of their time, with an estimated wealth of £7 billion, according to the 2020 Sunday Times Rich List.

They began their business empire with hotels and grew to include shipping and retailing.

They then ventured into media ownership in 1992 when they bought The European, which was followed by the purchase of The Scotsman in 1995 and Sunday Business in 1997, according to the newspaper.

Sir David (left) with his brother Frederick in 2000
(Image: Press Association)

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"After these ventures in the publishing arena, the brothers had nurtured since the 1980s an ambition to own the Telegraph group," The Telegraph said.

In October 2019, the Barclay family put the Daily and Sunday Telegraph newspapers up for sale as it was assessing its multi-billion-pound business investments in the United Kingdom.

Born in 1934, London, the twins left school at the age of 14.

David, like his brother, was known for protecting their privacy, rarely speaking publicly.

He once said: “We are private about everything we do. It stems from our philosophy of not talking about ourselves, or claiming how clever we are, or boasting about how successful we have been.

"We would, anyway, claim that we have been more fortunate than many others.”

The Telegraph announced the death late on Tuesday night.