Billionaire ex-owner of Scotsman newspaper David Barclay dies

Tributes have been paid to the Daily Telegraph boss after his death following a short illness.

Billionaire ex-owner of Scotsman newspaper David Barclay dies PA Media

Billionaire and former co-owner of The Scotsman newspaper, Sir David Barclay, has died aged 86 after a short illness.

Known as the Barclay Brothers, with his identical twin Sir Frederick Hugh Barclay, the pair built a business empire with interests in media, retail and property, including ownership of the Daily Telegraph.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who worked as a columnist for the paper, paid tribute to Sir David, who died on Sunday.

He tweeted: “Farewell with respect and admiration to Sir David Barclay who rescued a great newspaper, created many thousands of jobs across the UK and who believed passionately in the independence of this country and what it could achieve.”

Born to Frederick Barclay, a travelling salesman from Kilmarnock, on October 27, 1934, David was the older twin by ten minutes.

Their father died when the boys were 13-years-old.

Growing up in a large family in Hammersmith, David and two of his brothers were evacuated several times during the Second World War, the Telegraph said, and ultimately the twins left school aged 14.

The brothers’ business success began with hotels, grew to include shipping, and in 1995 they bought The Scotsman newspaper, appointing Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil to oversee it shortly after.

A decade later, in 2005, the Barclays sold The Scotsman Publications Ltd to Johnston Press for £160m, having bought the Telegraph Media Group in 2004.

The Daily Telegraph said the brothers “operated as one” throughout their business career, while steadfastly avoiding personal publicity and media scrutiny.

The paper quoted a colleague of the brothers as saying Sir David was distinct from Sir Frederick in that he was “more attuned to taking a risk, and Frederick was generally willing to have a look but would never bet the farm”.

Sir David Barclay, left, joint-owner of the The Daily Telegraph, has died after a short illness aged 86.

The pair had an estimated shared wealth of around £7bn, according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2020.

Sir David was always a voracious reader, obsessed with newspapers, business, economics and politics, and who had always said he had been educated at the “university of life”, the paper said.

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