Amid the acres of space being devoted to Alexander Lebedev and the Evening Standard, Peter Preston sounded an interesting note in the Observer yesterday.
Try this for size:
It matters hugely to Associated to know whether a Lebedev Standard would turn itself into a morning paper, competing directly with the Mail and Metro.
It matters mightily to James Murdoch to understand whether the Lebedev deal would destroy any immediate prospect of News International winning a chunk of the Standard in an eventual peace deal.
Preston’s larger point is that any deal to sell the Standard won’t be written breezily on the back of a fag packet. It will have more strings attached to it than jackaroo’s cork hat.
Another of those strings may involve the Independent. The FT reported on Friday that Lebedev is negotiating to buy the Independent and the Independent On Sunday from Independent News & Media.
The paper suggests that a bid from Lebedev is ‘contingent on the outcome of Mr Lebedev’s discussions with Daily Mail & General Trust”.
Economies of scale? Cross-promotion? A shared back office in Kensington?
Splicing together two renowned loss-makers could make sense. But the obvious implication is more redundancies than have already been announced.