Independent goes up for sale

The newspaper's founder has been given the go-ahead to find a buyer by owner Alexander Lebedev, according to reports.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 16 Jan 2014

After various cryptic statements by Independent owner Alexander Lebedev over the fast few months (and not-so-cryptic moves: Lebedev’s son, Evgeny, has stepped down from the newspaper’s board), it finally seems the newspaper is looking for a new home.

The paper has come a long way since Lebedev bought it for £1 back in 2010, most notably through the launch of the I, its bite-sized sister title. But that wasn’t enough to save the title: its ABC figures show that in August, circulation dropped to 69,000, from 82,000 the year before (although I’s figure rose, from 282,000 to 295,000).

According to a report by the Guardian, Andreas Whittam Smith, who founded the paper in 1986, has been authorised to seek a buyer – although there is no formal board mandate to sell it.

Chances are he’s seeing whether anyone will bite – although if Lebedev, who transformed the fortunes of the Evening Standard, can’t do it, others won’t exactly be encouraged. If you fancy a go at being a press baron, you know who to call...

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