25 Mar 2010 19:19

Lebedev purchases Independent for one pound

LONDON. March 25 (Interfax) - Independent News & Media (INM) is selling the rights to publish The Independent and The Independent on Sunday to Independent Print Limited, which is controlled by the family of Russian businessman Alexander Lebedev.

INM said in a statement that the transaction, which includes the website independent.co.uk, comes to one pound. INM will pay Lebedev's company 9.25 million pounds over 10 months in exchange for Independent Print Limited's right to take on all debt, which will be posted by the newspaper in the future.

The transaction will be finished in May.

Gavin O'Reilly, the CEO of INM, was quoted in the statement as saying: "I believe that the Lebedevs will be progressive and supportive owners of the Independent titles which have played such an important role in British public life for nearly 25 years."

The assets acquired by Lebedev in 2009 generated operational losses totaling 12.4 million pounds. The Independent's circulation fell over 2009 by 14% to less than 185,000 papers.

Earlier Lebedev, the owner of National Reserve Bank and various assets in different economic sectors in Russia, purchased another London-based newspaper, the Evening Standard, and was able to lower its losses. This paper now is freely distributed and has increased its circulation three times along with commercial revenue.