Hopes fade for sale of Independent to Lebedev

Alexander Lebedev and Gavin O’Reilly have both dismissed reports that a deal to sell the Independent and the Independent on Sunday is close.

O’Reilly, who took over from his father Anthony at Friday’s Independent News and Media annual general meeting, said: “The board has not received any offer whatsoever from Mr Lebedev.”

The Sunday Times says Lebedev has “poured cold water on speculation they were poised to invest”. It also says INM has brought in a debt restructuring company to find the cash to repay a €200m bond by the end of this month – indicating it does not expect any cash from a newspaper sale any time soon.

The closest we’ve got to an on-the-record comment from Lebedev so far is this gem from Reuters: “I am having a drink of whisky with an old friend so I am not able to comment.”

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