Will #TeamSaatchi rescue the Indy?

17 January 2014

5:36 PM

17 January 2014

5:36 PM

Roy Greenslade has set the hare running with his claim that Alexander Lebedev and his mini-mogul son Evgeny are looking to offload the Independent titles. The ‘viewspaper’ is understood to be haemorrhaging cash.

‘This is not new news,’ one insider tells me; although, as Greenslade reports, ‘the official line’ is that Independent Print (which makes the Indy, the Sindy and the i)  ‘is merely seeking new investors.’ But even that won’t be easy: newsstand sales of the Indy are down to 43,224  (which in part reflects the success of the ‘i’) and any investor/bidder will have to consider the Indy’s integration with the (profitable) Evening Standard, which is so extensive that the two papers share the same newsroom. Here’s the circulation:
Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 18.07.40
So, who might want to buy?  There is no shortage of oligarchs and sheiks who want to put their stamp on London, the global capital, or fancy the entree to the various parties which usually comes with ownership of print. And under the editorship of Amol Rajan, the Indy has shown it has plenty of life yet – with a striking redesign and regular ability to set the agenda, as it did this week with its investigation into gender-specific abortions. It would be perfect for someone who wants to cause some mischief. But Mr S has heard that the rumoured name in the frame at Indy Towers is a Brit: what would the right-on hacks make of Charles Saatchi as their proprietor?


The Indy paid Saatchi and Saatchi £40,000 for its famous 1986 launch campaign: ‘It is, are you?’ The paper enjoyed daily sales of 400,000 by the end of that decade; but those days are long gone despite the comparative success of the I. Saatchi is a shrewd investor; would he really get involved with the company?

Roy Greenslade says that the Saatchi rumour has been scotched. But Mr S hears otherwise, and has asked the great man for comment. We await his reply with interest.

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Show comments
  • River P

    The Gaurdian is the only paper I ever read online or otherwise. Here in Hong Kong we are rather short of anything of this standard. We dont see it as left wing, just credible.

  • JackyTreehorn

    No one can save left wing rags like the Guardian and Indy for the simple reason that there are not enough people buying them. The have a minority viewpoint read only by students and students that never grow up. They cant rely on their own circulation and most Labour voters prefer papers like the Star and mirror cos they have nice pictures.

  • rupertstubbs

    The market reacted with scorn when Saatchi & Saatchi wanted to take over the Midland Bank (in 1987). Yet in retrospect a company that is driven by the understanding the consumer would have been a heck of a lot better than the muppets who went on to run British Banking into the ground.

    I suspect the same would be true of the newspaper business.

  • Eddie

    All newspapers are in crisis and haemorrhaging cash. How much does The Guardian lose per week?
    The sad thing about this is The Indy is about the only paper that would allow Nigel Farage to have a column next to Owen Jones and Robert Fisk.
    I disagree with The Indy’s views on Israel, the Islamic veil, the Middle East generally – and other things such as immigration, the endless greedy campaign for yet more taxpayers’ money to pay for free childcare for rich women etc.
    However, I like it as a paper. I always buy the Saturday edition, even though the magazine has turned into some drivel aimed at kids and women.

  • Coleridge1

    This might be very good news. If the Indy is culled of its deranged anti-American anti-Israeli jihadis like Robert Fisk it might actually resemble a newspaper again.

    • Leppard

      Robert Fisk has more knowledge about his subject than you could imagine. Read his books if you can.

      • S&A

        That’s Robert ‘Crew Bay of an Apache’ Fisk we’re talking about, isn’t it? The one who absolutely, positively, doesn’t make up any of his stories?

  • Tom Tom

    Close it down. It has long outlived its purpose. The notion that selling it to Russians hasn’t worked but selling it to an Iraqi might is ludicrous

    • Rush_is_Right

      What purpose was that? My recollection is that when it was first launched it was going to be a right-of-centre paper which would challenge the Telegraph’s market share. When that didn’t work it lurched to the left with a view to ripping-off the Grauniad. Well that’s worked fine, but of course there is no money in publishing just another left-wing rag. Unless they can think of something else perhaps, as you rightly suggest, it should just close.

  • Puss-in-sandals

    It just goes to show that money can’t buy you looks.

  • Ourhy4104

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  • mrsjosephinehydehartley

    Personally i hope whoever rescues the on-line publication will sort out it’s comment facility which at the moment certainly doesn’t live up to the name of “The Independent”. Too many cooks are spoiling the broth, most probably – Mr.Saatchi might understand , I daresay.

  • CharlietheChump

    CS may be horrible but he’s not stupid. It’s the end of the line, first the Indy then the Guardian and so on.
    RIP dead tree press

  • Pootles

    ‘regular ability to set the agenda, as it did this week with its investigation into gender-specific abortions’ ? I don’t think so – it was the Daily Telegraph that opened that can of nasty worms last year – only for the DPP to back off for ‘community’ reasons.

  • Doggie Roussel

    This wretched specimen, Saatchi, makes shylock look philanthropic or humanitarian.

    When are we going to be rid of having to view his gastropod trail through the media…. a ceasless documentation of the slimy spoor this odious reptile leaves, wherever it is, when he emerges from his flimsy carapce ?

    • Geronimo von Huxley

      Dunno what you’re sayin’ but me like…

    • Shorne

      Couldn’t resist the anti-Semitic reference then.

      • Doggie Roussel

        If it was good enough for Shakespeare, it’s good enough for me…

        Sorry, have I infringed some patent on persecution ?

        • loftytom

          Hiya Ex President Ahmedinejad, do you not have any women to stone to death today?

  • Doggie Roussel

    Now we know why DDT was invented !

  • laurence

    ‘[T]he great man’. Are you sure? Really? The ‘oleaginous reptile’ would be a more apposite description.

    • Eddie

      Yes, I wonder what Nigella saw in the billionaire alpha male Charles Saatchi…