UPDATE: Lebedev back in talks to buy Independent

UPDATE: The owner of the Independent and the Independent on Sunday has confirmed it is in exclusive talks to sell the titles to the owner of the Evening Standard.

Evening Standard owner Alexander Lebedev is in talks to buy The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.

The Independent

Reports suggest the former KGB agent is now in “advanced talks” with Independent News & Media.

Lebedev has been in discussions with the publisher since the summer, but this is the first time talks have reached close to an agreement. Independent News & Media recently posted a pre-tax loss of €48.5m (£42.7m) for the first half of the year.

The Independent already shares a newsroom with The Independent and Daily Mail staff. It has been focused on restructuring to ease its debts and has cut around 90 jobs as part of its cost-cutting.

The move would give Mr Lebedev his second purchase in the UK newspaper market after he bought London’s loss-making Evening Standard newspaper in January for a nominal fee and has made it a freesheet in October.

The Independent posted an average net circulation drop of 0.72% to 186,490 for September. The title is down 16.53% for the six months April to September, year-on-year. It now has a new commercial director at the helm in the form of Simon Davis.

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