Photographer: Tom Hall/Bloomberg

U.K.'s Independent Newspapers to Stop Printing and Move to Web

  • Independent newspaper to publish final print edition March 26
  • Russian businessman Alexander Lebedev bought paper in 2010

The U.K.’s Independent newspaper will move online and cease print publication late next month, following the sale of its tabloid sister “i” to Johnston Press Plc for 24 million pounds ($34.9 million) on Friday.

Russian ex-KGB officer Alexander Lebedev bought the Independent and the Independent on Sunday newspapers for 1 pound in 2010, after snapping up the London Evening Standard a year earlier. He handed ownership of the newspapers to his son, Evgeny, who also runs the TV station London Live.

“This decision preserves the Independent brand and allows us to continue to invest in the high-quality editorial content that is attracting more and more readers to our online platforms,” Evgeny Lebedev said in a statement on Friday.

The Independent, which began publishing in 1986, will be found at the website indy100.com from the end of March and the print closures will result in a number of staff layoffs, Lebedev said, without divulging a figure. The digital move will create 25 content roles, a new subscription mobile app and the opening of offices in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and an expansion in the U.S., he said.

The London Evening Standard will be unaffected by changes at the Independent. In 2015, the Evening Standard made a profit of 5 million pounds and the London Live TV channel is expected to double revenues and break even in 2017, ahead of expectations, Evgeny Lebedev said.

Alexander Lebedev, 56, made his fortune in banking. He is the founder of Moscow news magazine Korrespondent and owns a stake in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper.

Reaction to the Closure

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