FORMER KGB agent and Evening Standard owner Alexander Lebedev has been given more time to secure a deal to buy The Independent and Independent on Sunday, it was confirmed today.
Independent News & Media (INM) said a period of exclusivity, which ran out today, has been extended to February 26 in order to "facilitate bringing these discussions to a successful conclusion", INM said.
The Russian oligarch already owns London’s Evening Standard after snapping up the loss-making paper in January of last year for a nominal fee.
A deal bringing the Independent newspapers into the same fold as the Evening Standard would be an easy logistical fit, as INM titles already share the same offices as the London paper after relocating to space with the Standard’s minority owner Associated Newspapers in Kensington, west London.
The future of the Independent and its Sunday counterpart have been widely speculated on over the past year as its Dublin-based parent has suffered losses amid an advertising slump.