Lebedev to pay £1 for the Independent

Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev is likely to pay a token £1 to take control of The Independent

Ironically, the amount is the same as buying one copy of the paper from the newsstand. However, Lebedev is expected to slash the £1 cover price to put pressure on the Guardian. He is also likely to invest millions in the two titles over the next five years.

The final hurdle to the deal was cleared by Independent News & Media (INM) when it agreed to part-guarantee for the 10-year printing deal with rival publisher Trinity Mirror.

Lebedev is understood to have committed to guarantee the printing deal for only five years. Now INM has agreed to provide a guarantee for the next five years.

Lebedev also struck a separate five-year deal with INM to supply articles to its other newspapers in South Africa and Ireland.

The two titles, Indy and Sindy, have been making more than £10m a year, but never made a sustained profit. The deal could now allow INM the exit that its shareholders have been demanding.

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