Independent In The Maelstrom: Selling Aussie Stake, DMGT Deal Looks Unlikely

imageA typically speculative Sunday newspaper story, this time from The Observer, reckons Daily Mail (LSE: DMGT) owner DMGT is considering buying out-of-favour The Independent from Gavin O’Reilly’s Independent News & Media (INM). That claim is put forward by “industry sources”, despite DMGT execs themselves being confirmed “wary” – still, what’s a contradiction between friends? One wonders whether the sources are Independent folk themselves, looking for an exit.
The paper’s circulation has been falling in recent months, the most liberal of UK titles would be ill-fitting in the conservative DMGT stable and few companies right now are brave enough to buy a newspaper, not least one in decline – and least of all DMGT, which is instead focusing its attentions on its B2B division, replete with property services data gatherers and other such unsexy businesses. Still, something is going on – a source also tells Sunday Times INM could marry its back-office ops with Mirror Group Newspapers. And it’s clear The Observer jumped the gun, with INM confirming DMGT talks are happening, but only on the same back-office arrangement.
One deal that is happening – Indie publisher INM told the market wants to sell its 39.1 percent share in Australia publisher APN, which owns papers such as the Toowoomba Chronicle and New Zealand Herald. That opens a bidding process after INM last Friday said it got an unsolicited approach for its share; it reckons it the sale could net it