Thursday 14 December 2017

INM announce sale of UK Independent titles

Independent News and Media Group CEO Gavin O'Reilly
Independent News and Media Group CEO Gavin O'Reilly
Russian businessman Alexander Lebedev. Photo: Getty Images
Ivan Fallon

Independent News & Media has announced the sale of its UK Independent titles to Independent Print Limited (IPL), a company controlled by the family of Alexander Lebedev.

IPL will pay £1 for all rights to The Independent, The Independent on Sunday and the online publication www.independent.co.uk.

As part of the transaction, INM will pay IPL £9.25m (€10.33m) over the next ten months to cover the losses the titles are expected to make this year. In exchange IPL will assume all future trading liabilities and obligations.

The agreement is still subject to certain conditions, including Irish competition approval.

Existing staff will transfer to IPL, who will continue to operate from the current premises in Kensington, London.

INM and IPL have also entered into an agreement that ensures that all of INM's worldwide publications will continue to have full access to the UK Independent titles' editorial content.

Gavin O'Reilly, Group Chief Executive Officer of INM said, "This is a most satisfactory and positive outcome for the titles, their staff and for INM's shareholders.

"The transaction will be immediately earnings accretive for INM. After our successful refinancing in late 2009, this transaction marks an important milestone in the repositioning of our group and will allow INM to focus solely on its market leading, cash generative assets in Ireland, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

"I wish IPL and the staff every success for the future in continuing the development of these important and influential titles. 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. I wish them, the titles and our former colleagues every success for the future.

As a result of the sale, Ivan Fallon, chief executive of Independent News & Media UK, has retired from the group.

Mr O'Reilly said: "Ivan has made a significant contribution to INM since he joined the group in 1994. He first led INM's very successful investment in South Africa, before taking on the challenges of the UK market, where The Independent led the industry moving to the compact format. We wish him continuing success with his future endeavours."

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