15:10 Update: Contrary to earlier reports it turns out a rich Egyptian might not by buying into the Independent after all (from the Guardian):
The Egyptian businessman Samih Sawiris has denied that he is involved in talks to buy the Independent newspapers with London Evening Standard owner Alexander Lebedev.
Geordie Greig, the Evening Standard editor, also denied that Sawiris was involved in the talks.
Sawiris said today that the first he had heard of his supposed involvement with the Independent titles was from MediaGuardian.co.uk.
“I had previously been unaware that the Independent was even up for sale, and had certainly never expressed any interest in buying it or being involved in buying it. If I had that much spare money, I would use it to buy a boat, not a newspaper,” he said.
This is the story that came out earlier:
Former KGB agent turned owner of the London Evening Standard, Alexander Lebedev, is trying to bring a wealthy Egyptian family in on his proposed takeover of the Independent newspapers, a report has claimed.
Lebedev is believed to have told associates that he expects Egyptian billionaire Samih Sawiris to invest in the Independent and Independent on Sunday – the men are already understood to be partners in a chateau development in Switzerland.
Sources close to the deal told the Guardian that the Evening Standard owner was trying to persuade the Sawiris family to join him in his latest UK media venture.
The source said today that Lebedev and Samih Sawiris had become close and were talking about other business projects in Russia and elsewhere, including a low-cost housing development.
There was no immediate response from Lebedev today to inquiries from MediaGuardian, but a source close to the Russian dismissed the speculation.
The billionaire, who in exclusive non-binding talks with Independent News & Media over the sale of the Independent and Independent on Sunday, has given few details of his offer for both titles.
Negotiations between Lebedev and INM are due to conclude on Monday, 15 February.