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.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London