(Bloomberg) -- Lloyds Banking Group Plc has received £1.2 billion ($1.5 billion) from the owners of the Telegraph newspaper, marking an end of the bank’s involvement in a saga that’s spawned government investigations and sparked a nationwide discussion on freedom of the press. 

Lloyds received the repayment from Penultimate Investment Holdings Limited, according to an emailed statement. Penultimate Investment Holdings Limited is the Barclay family company that indirectly owns Telegraph Media Group Ltd. and the Spectator (1828) Ltd.

“We are always keen to work constructively with customers who get into difficulty with their repayments to reach an amicable solution,” Lloyds said in the statement. “We’d like to thank all parties for their role in reaching this point.”

The fact that Lloyds was repaid in full marks a remarkable reversal of the bank’s fortunes in this process. The lender first seized both the Telegraph newspaper and Spectator magazine in June following years of negotiations with the Barclay family and launched an auction that analysts originally expected would yield just half the £1.2 billion the family owed.

It means Lloyds could be in line for a windfall of about £500 million, after the bank wrote off the majority of the debt years ago. 

“It would bolster capital generation and potentially support a larger than expected share buyback,” said Gary Greenwood, an analyst at Shore Capital. He currently expects Lloyds to announce plans to repurchase £2 billion of shares when it announces earnings in February. “This could increase to £2.5 billion if all the net benefit was returned to shareholders,” he said.

Sky News earlier reported on the repayment. 

The Barclay family have owned the conservative paper and sister titles for 19 years. To repay the debt, the family secured a loan package from RedBird IMI, a media investment vehicle that is a joint venture between RedBird Capital Partners and the United Arab Emirates-based International Media Investments. 

Redbird IMI has said it agreed to lend the Barclay family £600 million ($750 million) secured against the politically influential titles. Separately, IMI will lend a further £600 million secured against other Barclay family businesses and commercial interests.

IMI is a private investment vehicle for Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. 

UK Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer ordered regulators to investigate the deal, citing the need to ensure “the accurate presentation of news and free expression of opinion in newspapers.” Regulators have until Jan. 26 to report on their findings and Frazer can then block the deal, impose conditions, or allow it go through.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP advised the Barclay family on the transaction.

(Updates with advisers’ names in final paragraph.)

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