Independent calls review following buyout

The Independent and Independent on Sunday’s creative and media accounts, worth more than 3m, are under review following the changes in their ownership.

The move follows the announcement last Wednesday that Tony O’Reilly’s Independent Newspapers of Ireland has taken control of the titles.

M&C Saatchi currently handles the creative work and Zenith Media UK the media buying.

Brendan Hopkins, managing director of Independent Newspapers UK, who has taken over the running of the two titles, says: “We are reviewing the whole situation.”

He does not rule out talks with other agencies at some point in the future, but adds that the business will continue to be handled through the incumbent agencies.

Hopkins says that his circulation target for The Independent over three years is 250,000 and 300,000 for the IoS, up from 216,488 and 247,736 respectively (February ABC).

Moray MacLennan, joint chief executive of M&C Saatchi, says: “I certainly expect The Independent to look at every aspect of how it markets the paper.

Independent Newspapers owned 46.4 per cent of Newspaper Publishing – publisher of the Independent. Under the deal Independent Newspapers paid 3.4m for the shares which it did not already own, including the Mirror Group’s 46.4 per cent stake.

The group also assumed 26m of Mirror Group loans and guarantees. The Mirror Group will provide printing and distribution for the next five years.

Advertising staff will transfer from Mirror Group employment to Independent Newspapers.

Media Comment, page 16

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