David Barclay, Former Owner of Scotsman newspaper, Dies at 86
NEWSMAN – 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 on his twitter handle
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 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 brothers “operated as one” throughout their business career, while steadfastly avoiding personal publicity and media scrutiny.
A colleague of the brothers said 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”.
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 brothers, based on the Channel Island of Sark, became embroiled in a rare public row last year over the sale of The Ritz to a brother-in-law of the ruler of Qatar, which ended up in court.
They were knighted in 2000, kneeling side by side before Queen Elizabeth II in the first double knighthood ceremony in the modern era.
David Barclay, who died on Sunday, was married twice and leaves behind four sons.