The Independent has been put up for sale, according to reports.
Roy Greenslade has claimed in his Guardian media blog that owners Alexander Lebedev and son Evgeny Lebedev have authorised the paper’s founder and chairman of its publishing company, Andreas Whittam Smith, to look for a buyer.
According to Greenslade, the Lebedev’s have made “cryptic statements” in the last six months indicating their willingness to shed loss-making papers. Meanwhile, two recent board changes at Independent Print signalled change for the Independent when Whittam Smith moved from being a non-executive director to become chairman and Evgeny Lebedev stood down from the board.
Greenslade wrote: “Whittam Smith is said to feel ‘honour bound’ to save the title he launched in 1986 and to all he can to find someone willing to continue publishing the paper.
“The official line from Independent Print is that Whittam Smith is merely seeking new investors. But the reality is that the papers are in play.”
Greenslade added that there had been no formal board mandate to sell the Independent and its sister titles i and the Independent on Sunday, saying: “It would appear that Whittam Smith has put out a fishing line in order to see whether anyone bites. And, like many fisherman who use unpalatable bait, the wait for a catch is proving longer than he would wish.”
The Drum was awaiting comment from the Independent at time of publication.