OFT clears Lebedev takeover of Independent

The Office of Fair Trading has cleared the likely takeover of the Independent and Independent on Sunday by the Russian billionaire, and owner of the London Evening Standard, Alexander Lebedev.

The OFT issued a mergers update this afternoon:

‘The OFT has decided, on the information currently available to it, that a relevant merger situation, under the provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002, has not been created in the following merger(s):

‘Anticipated acquisition by Lebedev Holdings Limited of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.”

The move follows owner Independent News & Media filing a submission over the proposed deal last month.

However, the question of if the deal will go through was replaced, it seems now an eternity ago, by the question of when the deal, which seems beset by 11th hour delays, will go through.

The Guardian yesterday did a quick round-up of some of the speculation surrounding when a deal could be announced and highlighted some of the dead-end predictions that have already come and gone.

There has also been the amusing speculation over who the new editor may be. Rod Liddle was in the frame, then out of the frame. Then Greg Dyke and Jeremy Paxman’s names were mentioned.

And let’s not forget the rich Egyptian who was embroiled in speculation around the deal for a short while.

For now, though, we sit and wait.

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