London Independent ‘gone by Christmas’

UPDATE 1-O’Brien sees London’s Independent closed by Dec | Industries | Technology, Media & Telecommunications | Reuters

Denis O’Brien, the second largest shareholder in the Independent News and Media group, has said that the Independent newspaper, the weakest of the four ‘quality’ London dailies, will close by Christmas:

“There’s no point in us as a company subsidising a newspaper that really nobody wants to read in the United Kingdom,” O’Brien told Bloomberg TV in an interview on the sidelines of the Global Irish Economic Forum.

“It’s not a relevant newspaper anymore and this newspaper’s going to be closed by Christmas,”said O’Brien, who has been at odds with the company’s board over plans to refinance a 200-million-euro debt issue that was meant to be paid in May.

Newspaper sales in Britain have been dwindling for years in the face of growing competition from television online news providers.

“There is the possibility of a consensual deal (with bondholders) but it is by no means certain,” O’Brien told reporters separately at the conference. “The situation is serious and fraught.”

To be honest, I bought the Independent a few years ago but have been a solid Guardian reader for the past several years (actually, our whole family has taken the Guardian since I was a child). The Guardian’s coverage has variety and balance; the Indie’s is a mixture of outrage and dullness. Currently, it’s edited by the same guy who led the Observer to take a pro-war stance during the Iraq war (see the section “The Blinded Observer” in Nick Davies’ Flat Earth News), and quite possibly his becoming editor made the paper less prestigious rather than more. Its collapse will strengthen the Guardian, which can only be a good thing.

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