O’Brien calls for closure of the London Independent as truce with O’Reillys collapses

The Independent’s struggle for survival reaches a new phase with the revival of Telecom tycoon Denis O’Brien’s feud with the beleaguered O’ Reillys. The demand to close or dispose of the Indy starkly exposes the gulf between O’Brien who wants clear signs of moving into profit, and the O’Reillys who want to keep the titles alive. As a buyer for the papers seems unlikely in this climate, it looks as if the long delayed crisis is arriving at last. The saga is another graphic example of Irish business having a direct effect on the UK. For me, the puzzle is why O’Brien ever wanted to become involved with Independent News and Media in the first place, if he didn’t have dreams of becoming a media tycoon himself, and using his lucrative telecoms empire to subsidise the print, while searching for the holy grail of making it profitable in the 21st century. The Irish Times reports

At 8.30am IN&M shares were down 3.8 per cent at 25 cent giving the company a market value of €209 million. The company’s shares are down 40 per cent over the last year. The Irish Times reported last week that IN&M was planning to defy Mr O’Brien by entering a deal to sell off its South African outdoor advertising unit to private equity company Helios Investment Partners.

It looks as if O’Brien is bdding for control and the explusion of the O’Reillys. A battle royal ( so to speak) looks imminent for the group.

  • borderline

    “For me, the puzzle is why O’Brien ever wanted to become involved with Independent News and Media in the first place..”

    Brian, I rather suspect it is because O’Reilly trumped O’Brien in the bitter takeover battle for eircom. DOB wanted revenge allegedly, he is a keen employer of lawyers also allegedly.

  • Rory Carr

    If, or perhaps when, the Independent does eventually disappear from sight I think many of us will find ourselves in much the same mood of insousiance as Dorothy Parker who, upon being informed of the death of Calvin Coolidge asked, “How could they tell?”.

    Not my favourite paper I perhaps needlessly add.

  • Driftwood

    I was quite fond of ‘The Independent’ when it first came out, but apart from Robert Fisk, seems to be heading the way of Eddie Shah’s ‘Today’.

    Today ceased on Friday, 17 November 1995, the first long-running national newspaper title to fail since the Daily Sketch in 1971. The last edition’s headline was “Goodbye. It’s been great to know you”, the editorial saying “… Now we are forced into silence by the granite and unforgiving face of the balance sheet…”.