Denis O’Brien, the Irish businessman who has steadily built up a 22 per cent stake in Independent News & Media, sets out his stall today ahead of the company’s AGM next month.
He tells the Guardian that of his disbelief that the company hold on to the loss-making title which he accuses of not understanding new media. “The big concern I have about the newspaper is the way they just don’t get new media,” he says. “A lot of the older style newspaper groups, they reject the idea, they try to fiddle around with it and the third phase is they panic. Now INM have not even woke up to it.”
Branded a “dissident shareholder” and a destabilising influence by the INM board, he says the company has “a good spread of assets” but he has no time for its flagship title.
“It’s a vanity operation. Then they say it’s a calling card, that’s ridiculous, no one thinks ‘I own the Independent’ is a calling card, Christ, what’s that going to do for them?”