Hundreds of millions wiped off media owner fortunes

The UK’s richest media owners have had hundreds of millions wiped off their assets according to the Sunday Times Rich List – published yesterday.

The annual envy-fest reveals that the Telegraph-owning Barclay brothers are £700m less well off compared with last year with estimated assets of £1bn. Rich List editor Philip Beresford puts this down to lower property and media values.They remain the joint 40th richest people in Britain, as estimated by the List, and the richest media figures on it.

Express owner Richard Desmond has fared worse, losing half of his fortune since last year and dropping nine places with a total of £950m. Presumably this is also due to plunging media prices. However, Desmond can console himself with the fact that since be bought Express Newspapers for £125m in 2000 he has paid himself £200m.

Doing better are the Thomson family whose Dundee-based DC Thomson publishes The Dandy, The Sunday Post and other titles.Their 63 per cent stake in the business helps them to assets of £540m – down only £130m since last year and so pushing them up 38 places.

At 88 is Viscount Cowdraw and the Pearson family whose stake in FT publisher Pearson helps them to be worth £500m, down £220m since last year.

Felix Dennis drops 13 places to share 88th spot with £500m (down £250m).

The Daily Mail-owning Rothermeres stay at 138th place with assets of £380m (down £220m since last year).

The Rich List, published for 21 years, will not be available online until tomorrow (Tuesday). It is always a big circulation winner for the Sunday Times and the paper is evidently keen not to dent its impact by publishing it for free on day of publication with the rest of the paper.

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