Former owners of The Daily Telegraph are exploring strategic options for their parcel delivery company, Yodel, as they seek to shore up their finances.
The Barclay family, who owned Yodel through their company Logistics Group Holdings (LGH), has reportedly hired bankers to review potential buyers and partners for the company.
One possible option being considered is a partnership or joint venture with a large Chinese e-commerce player such as Alibaba
Group or JD.com.
Yodel, which last year handled nearly 200 million parcels, is one of the biggest parcel couriers in the UK, competing with the likes of Royal Mail, Evri, and Amazon Logistics.
The decision to explore a sale comes just weeks after Lloyds Banking Group seized control of the Telegraph newspapers and The Spectator magazine by forcing them into receivership.
The Barclays, led by Aidan Barclay, the former Telegraph Media Group chairman, have been fighting to regain control of the titles but have so far been unable to secure the funding required.
Yodel has been in operation since 2010, when the Barclays combined DHL's parcel delivery arm with Home Delivery Network.
The company has struggled to break even in the past but enjoyed a pandemic bonanza, with revenues soaring, its maiden annual pre-tax profit, and further growth in its current financial year.
Mike Hancox, who has been running Yodel since 2019, recently told The Guardian that the seizure of the Telegraph titles had prompted him to ask Yodel's owners about its future.
"I did ask the question: 'Is there an impact on Yodel?' I was told very clearly: 'No - we don't bank with Lloyds Banking Group and we don't trade with the Telegraph so there is no link,'" Hancox told the newspaper.
While no official valuation of Yodel has been released, a sale is likely to attract interest from industry players keen to consolidate the market as well as specialist financial investors.
Yodel's debts are owed to HSBC and are separate from those of the Telegraph.
The Barclay family's decision to explore a sale comes after a difficult few months A review of options for Yodel, a UK-based parcel delivery company, is expected to take several months.
During this time, the sale of the Telegraph newspapers is likely to be launched.
This week, Mike McTighe, the boardroom veteran who chairs Openreach, was appointed to chair the Telegraph and Spectator's respective holding companies.
Bankers are reportedly close to being hired to handle the disposal of the newspapers.
The dismantling of the Barclay family's empire follows the death of Sir David Barclay, one half of the fraternal double act who took control of the Telegraph in 2004 in a £665m deal.
Sir Frederick, the twin with whom he fell out in the years before his death, is embroiled in a £100m court battle over his divorce settlement.
The Barclays previously owned the Ritz Hotel in London and still own Very Group, the online retailer.
The move to force the Telegraph's holding company into receivership was triggered by Lloyds' dissatisfaction with the Barclays' approach to repaying a loan which dates back to the pre-crisis era of large corporate loans issued by HBOS.
A spokesman for the Barclay family declined to comment on the matter, while Clearwater, the investment firm, also declined to provide any information.