Lebedev in Independent takeover talks, reports claim

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Alexander Lebedev last week met Gavin O’Reilly, chief executive of Independent News & Media, to discuss the possible sale of the Independent, claims Mediaweek, quoting ” a source close to the deal”.

The Russian owner of the London Evening Standard told Media Week: “It would be interesting and we are inside the picture. But they have certain issues to be resolved.”

Those issues could include INM’s negotiations with bondholders over debt repayments and an agreement that will need to be reached between the two parties over syndicating The Independent’s content to other papers in the INM stable.

Lebedev, who owns a 74.9 per cent stake in the Standard, added: “There exists synergies between the two newspapers. You have to ask yourself does The Independent have an audience and a niche and do you have to take tough decisions, like redundancies?”

The Independent sale would raise much needed cash for INM, which last week agreed to extend negotiations with bondholders until 27 August over its 1.4m (euros) debt.

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