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Rigorous Fearless Independent

Alice said “If DMGT attempted to buy the Telegraph it would definitely trigger competition and media plurality investigations, but that wouldn’t necessarily mean it would be blocked. With the long-term structural decline of the newspaper market, whether a deal should be blocked is not as clearcut as it used to be.”

She added “I can’t see them looking to buy the Telegraph in the short term. But strategically, in the medium term, given the market, I could see it happening.”

Claire said “There’s a lot of overlap. The impetus to put together MailOnline with the main titles is driven by costs. It has to be done.”

She added “These types of assets have been systemically condemned by the City, which is never going to get this story again. It’s better off being privately managed. He’s doing what’s necessary now, which is to put these titles on a sensible footing as cash flow machines for his family.”

Market revenue growth remained positive in Q3 despite much of the lockdown bounceback dropping out, and is at a significantly higher level than pre-pandemic.

The backbook pricing pressure that has plagued the operators over the last 18 months appears to be finally starting to drop away, allowing strong demand and firm pricing to feed through.

The prospects for next year are also very positive, with firm price increases expected from April, ultrafast upgrades growing in significance, and continued annualisation of backbook issues.

Karen said "I think Nick Read sounds too confident with regard to the UK. There is a bit more acknowledgement to balance investment and returns, but I think that the appetite for consolidation is still quite weak.

"It is hard to think how Three UK is going to thrive or even survive without such a deal, but I don't think it is there for the taking in any stretch of the imagination."

Karen believes Vodafone's heavy debts are a key reason that it is eyeing merger opportunities for Vantage Towers, the mobile masts operator that was carved out of the business in a move that could pave the way for Vodafone to sell down its 82pc stake.