Who is Sir Paul Marshall, the man trying to buy The Telegraph?

The next owner of Telegraph Media Group is expected to be announced in July. Marshall, co-owner of GB News and a one-time Lib Dem turned Tory, is currently leading the pack…

Empires take time to build. At 64, Sir Paul Roderick Clucas Marshall, co-founder and chairman of Marshall Wace LLP, one of Europe's largest hedge fund groups, is already worth an alleged £630m – but retirement seems a long way off.

As the founder of Westminster website UnHerd, and as a backer of right-wing news channel GB News, Marshall appears to be looking to gain even more power.

Image: Getty

Recently, Marshall announced a bid to buy Telegraph Media Group, which owns not just The Telegraph, but also The Spectator, with Sky News estimating the lot could go for £600m.

Marshall is said to have backing from US billionaire Republican donor Ken Griffin and it’s been reported he’s also eyeing the left-wing publication the New Statesman.

‘Taken together, the trio of outlets would give him enormous influence over Tory party members when they come to choose Rishi Sunak’s replacement as leader,’ warns Jim Waterson in The Guardian.

Marshall is not yet a household name. So, let’s take a look at what you need to know…

Marshall was knighted in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to education and philanthropy

Born on 2 August, 1959, in Ealing, London, to Alan Marshall, a managing director at Unilever, and Mary Sylvia Clucas, Marshall moved to the Philippines and then South Africa with his father’s job, before boarding at the Merchant Taylors’ School, in Northwood, England. He then read History and Modern Languages, at Oxford, before taking an MBA at INSEAD business school, in Fontainebleau, France.

View of the Great Hall, The Marshall Building LSE

In 2015, he donated £30m to the London School of Economics, to establish The Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship, adding £50m in 2021.

He later founded the Education Policy Institute and the children’s charity ARK, and is a former chairman of ARK schools, which worked to turn British state schools into ‘academies’. Marshall stepped down from the board in April.

His son is a fairly famous musician

Winston Marshall. Image: Getty

Marshall is married to Sabina de Balkany, who owns an antiques shop on the King’s Road. Together they have a daughter, Giovanna, and a son, Winston, who is a founding member of Mumford & Sons.

Winston left the band, in 2021, after expressing support for the book Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, by conservative American journalist Andy Ngo. Explaining his reasoning for leaving the band, Winston said he wanted to exercise his right to free speech without involving his bandmates.

He’s a member of one of London’s most prestigious churches

“The root is my faith,” Marshall said in 2012, when discussing his work with ARK. “I am a committed Church of England Christian, I believe we are all made in God’s image, that we all have gifts, and that education is the key to realising our potential.”

Image: Getty

Marshall is a member of the Holy Trinity, Brompton, an influential church in Knightsbridge, London, that recently pushed back against CoE plans to bless same-sex relationships. Bear Grylls – who recently baptised the newly converted and highly contentious Russell Brand in the River Thames – is said to be an occasional attendee.

Citing religion journalist Tim Wyatt, The Guardian writes that ‘Marshall’s belief is not a private passion’, explaining that he is known for quoting the Bible in speeches and interviews, as well as calling free-market capitalism “the greatest instrument of poverty relief that the world has ever seen.”

Reportedly, if successful in his bid, Marshall won’t use The Telegraph for religious ends. “[He] sees The Telegraph primarily as a business venture, although it aligns with his values,” an unnamed source said.

He loves a political flip-flop

Marshall was a long-time Lib Dem, having served as a research assistant to former party leader Charles Kennedy as early as 1985. Having stood for parliament and co-edited The Orange Book, which outlined the party’s philosophies, Marshall abandoned the Lib Dems in 2015 over its support for the European Union.

Marshall became a public supporter of Brexit, donating £100,000 to the Leave campaign, arguing in a piece for BrexitCentral that: ‘This is a huge opportunity for the UK. Our ambition is that the UK should be a champion of free trade, open and outward looking to the world and built on strong institutions.’

He’s now a die-hard Conservative

Michael Gove. Image: Getty

Since siding with the blues, Marshall has given financial backing to the Conservatives, including £3,250 to Michael Gove's Conservative Party leadership campaign, and an additional £500,000 in 2019.

The future

Image: Getty

Marshall’s most impactful support for the Tories is perhaps in his growing role as a right-wing media figure.

Between 2020 and 2021, he invested £10m into GB News, before injecting a further £41m between 2022 and 2023 to keep the company afloat. He also helped create the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship alongside such nauseating figures as the incel’s favourite philosopher Jordan Peterson.

In February this year, advocacy group Hope not Hate found that an anonymous Twitter account linked to Marshall had liked Tweets that suggested ‘mass expulsions’ of immigrants, as well as those that made derogatory remarks about Muslims.

Should Marshall’s bid to take over the Telegraph come to fruition, his level of influence in the Conservative party could be almost unparalleled.

‘Conservative officials whisper about him being the kingmaker in what’s left of the party after the next general election,’ Waterson notes.

Come July, we’ll find out if he’s to be handed the crown.

Want more profile pieces? We go inside the incredible world of Bernard Arnault…

Become a Gentleman’s Journal Member?

Like the Gentleman’s Journal? Why not join the Clubhouse, a special kind of private club where members receive offers and experiences from hand-picked, premium brands. You will also receive invites to exclusive events, the quarterly print magazine delivered directly to your door and your own membership card.

Click here to find out more