Rumour mill turns on newspaper sale

SPECULATION has begun into the future of The Independent newspaper in the UK, with press reports suggesting it is about to be put up for sale by Indepdendent News and Media (INM).

The company is a 39.1 percent shareholder of APN News and Media – the biggest publisher of newspapers in New Zealand and the third largest publisher in Australia with additional interests in radio and outdoor advertising.

The respected Daily Telegraph of London reported overnight there was no formal mandate to sell the newspaper but the option was on the table and being investigated by financial advisory group, Lazard.

The paper said The Independent and its Sunday editions were losing close to US$14.5 million a year and there was internal pressure from within the board to eject them.

The Daily Telegraph named Denis O’Brien, a telecoms billionaire with a 26 percent share of INM, as a shareholder keen for a sale.

The rumour mill is also working hard on whether INM will retain its 26 percent shareholding in an Indian newspaper, Dainik Jagran, which is said to have a readership of more than 56 million.

INM took up that investment in 2004.

The company is continuing to offload some of its assets in a bid to reduce debt, even if these latest reports are not confirmed.

It is about to sell a German website that specialises in price comparisions, as well as an online bingo operation called Cashcade.

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