Sources claim Independent could be sold to DMGT

Daily Mail and General Trust is considering a bid for the Independent titles, according to James Robinson writing in the Observer.

“Industry sources” have told Robinson that the Independent titles could be off-loaded for £1, with DMGT taking on their liabilities.

Sources close to Indepedendent News and Media have told Robinson that the papers are not for sale – but that rival groups have offered to take on back office functions such as human resources and accounts.

The Sunday Times reports that the Daily Mirror and Independent are in talks to “unify functions” in IT, accounting and sub-editing to save money.

It cites sources as saying that a tie-up between in the Independent and Trinity Mirror was possible but that “other groups were also in the running”.

According to the Sunday Times such a tie-up would have put the Independent titles into the black last year.

The Independent titles have lost money since they were bought by IN&M in 1995.

A wholesale buy-up by the DMGT does seem far-fetched – considering the Mail publisher already has one loss-making daily paper in the shape of the Evening Standard.

Any merger of titles between the Mail and the Independent would be unthinkable because their readerships are so different – but some sort of merger between the Standard and Indy is more plausible.

Robinson also notes in his piece that Daily Mail editor-in-chief Paul Dacre turns 60 next month and may be considering a move to a different role in the business and handing over the editorship.

The future of the Independent titles has been put in question by the activities of rebel IN&M shareholder Denis O’Brien – who now has a 26 per cent stake in the business and wants the Independents to be sold off.

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