Johnston Press confirms talks to buy the i newspaper

The newspaper group Johnston Press has confirmed it is in advanced discussions with the Lebedev family to buy the i newspaper in a £24m deal.

The listed group has said the deal would create the UK’s fourth largest print publisher, with more than 600,000 paid copies a day through a combination of its own 200 titles and local papers [1].

The Lebedev family bought The Independent in 2010 for £1, which is a stablemate of the i newspaper [2].

The i paper has been a huge success for the Lebedev family since its launch, and made a profit of £5.2m in the year to September 2015 [2]. There are sales of approximately 275,000 copies each day [3].

However, the future of The Independent, which is 30 years old this year, The Independent on Sunday, and its website remains unclear, as Johnston Press’ statement did not comment on these.

Steve Auckland, Group Chief Executive of ESI Media, confirmed the discussions and said: “At this stage, no decision has been made, and we realise the uncertainty that this news will cause our employees and customers. Johnston Press are bound by strict PLC guidelines, so unfortunately we can make no further comment at this time” [4].

Johnston Press said its Board believed it could grow readership at a minimal cost by leveraging its digital expertise, while its regional network would be boosted by the national newspaper brand.


[1] The Independent. ‘Johnston Press in discussions to buy i newspaper’.

[2] Telegraph. ‘Johnston Press confirms £24m talks to buy the i newspaper’.

[3] The Guardian. ‘Johnston Press in advanced talks to buy the i newspaper in £25m deal’.

[4] Evening Standard. ‘Johnston Press ‘in late-stage talks’ to buy the i newspaper’.