Sharing with Mail 'will safeguard future of Independent'

The Independent titles are moving from their offices in Docklands, East London, to share premises with the publishers of the Daily Mail.

Under a deal signed today, the Independent titles will share back office functions with the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Metro and Evening Standard at Northcliffe House in Kensington.

In a statement released today, INM said: “The two groups’ editorial, management and commercial operations will remain entirely separate. The Independent and Independent on Sunday will remain under the full ownership of INM.”

Explaining the reason for the move in an email to staff, Independent managing director Simon Kelner said: “The chance to share office space, initially, and then, further down the line, explore the possibilities of sharing other back-office services is very attractive to us.

“It means we divest ourselves of the burdensome cost of Marsh Wall (which is now much too big for us), and gives us a settled home in a modern, dynamic environment.

“This initiative, together with the restructuring we are in the midst of at the moment, means we can safeguard the future of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday as independent titles.

“I realise that, so soon after I spoke to you all, this is another upheaval, but these are extremely challenging times that demand a purposeful response from any company hoping to make it through this current turbulence.

“Everything we are doing is with the intention of protecting the titles, and as many jobs as we can. While I know this will cause travel difficulties for some of you, I hope you understand the rationale behind the move.

“And apart from anything else, the facilities at Northcliffe House (of which I have first-hand knowledge) are really excellent in terms of restaurant, gym etc. We are aiming to make this move in the early part of 2009.”

INM chief executive Ivan Fallon said: “This move will transform the prospects of the Independent titles. We will have immediate cost savings when we move offices and take maximum advantage of the resources and services offered to us by our partners at Associated to create better and more commercially viable newspapers while staying true to the editorial values we cherish.”

Job cuts

The news that the Independent titles are leaving Docklands comes just after a week after proposals to cut 90 jobs were announced as part of a restructuring programme aimed at saving £10m.

The company has said that the majority of the job cuts will come from editorial.

The cutbacks, to be implemented by early 2009, were prompted by a downturn in advertising revenue and will lead to “greater integration’between the two papers, with a “more efficient use of technology” enabling the papers to ‘streamline their production processes”.

In September the price of The Independent rose from 80p to £1 – a move which has accelerated the paper’s sales decline.

In October circulation of The Independent paper fell 16 per cent year on year to 201,019.

“It’s horrific out there, at the moment,” Independent editor Roger Alton told Sky News this week.

“There’s already been carnage, and I expect there’ll be more. I’d be amazed if some newspapers didn’t fail.”

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