Oligarch buys London newspaper for a quid
I do wonder what the details of the financial wheelings and dealers are, but it appears the London Evening Standard has gone for a song, for a stated purchase price of one pound (1UKP).
From Hackney and TheGuardian's über-blogger Dave Hill - Alexander Lebedev completes purchase of Evening Standard
Sale of Standard complete: Veronica "off ill" Comments (0)
And so, finally, a former master of propaganda completes his purchase of a propaganda organ. From the Guardian:
The Evening Standard editor-in-chief, Paul Dacre, announced the sale to staff just before 10am today...[He] told about 200 assembled staff in the Standard's Kensington newsroom that the sale was a "sad day for DMGT"...Dacre paid tribute to the Standard's editor, Veronica Wadley. She is not believed to be in the office today
One meaning of "strengthening competitiveness" is "making redundancies". Where the axe falls will provide some kind of guide to the paper's future direction under new editor-elect Geordie Greig. Ginger isn't optimistic:
I'd be surprised if there is much of a change of course. The paper has nailed its trousers firmly to the mast of pro-Boris, London-is-crap, move-to-the-home-counties-as-quick-as-you-can mantra. And when you've nailed your trousers to the mast, climbing down becomes a little embarrassing.
More on NP from Dave Keating,
The Standard has published its version of events
It was 18 months ago that Alexander Lebedev first approached Jonathan Harmsworth, the fourth Viscount Rothermere, expressing an interest in the Standard. Lord Rothermere and DMGT were reluctant to sell.
But, as the recession bit - and all of Britain's newspapers came under bitter financial pressure - it became clear that DMGT couldn't indefinitely provide the investment needed to ensure the Standard's future.
It also became increasingly apparent that if the Standard failed to secure new capital it faced the very real possibility of closure.
It was against this background that negotiations between the Lebedevs and DMGT began. Over the past two weeks, they have focused on ensuring that both the Standard's editorial integrity and the interests of its staff are protected.
Mr Lebedev is paying a nominal sum for the Standard in return for assurances that he will invest substantial funds in the paper over the next few years.
Martin Morgan, Chief Executive Officer of DMGT, said: "We believe that the agreement announced today is in the best interests of the staff and our shareholders. The investment planned by Mr Lebedev secures the future of the paper."
Associated Newspapers, the newspaper publishing division of DMGT, will retain a 24.9% interest in the Standard and provide commercial services such as printing and distribution. It will, however, have no influence in the editorial content or the running of the paper.