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21 Jan, 2009 12:44

London Evening standard bought by Alexander Lebedev

London Evening standard bought by Alexander Lebedev

A majority stake in the iconic London daily, The Evening Standard will be sold to Russian Billionaire, Alexander Lebedev.

Lebedev will receive a 75.1% controlling stake in the paper in exchange for a nominal payment, believed to be 1 Pound. The Evening Standard will become part of the Evening Press Group, owned by Lebedev Holdings. Evening Press was set up in December by Alexander Lebedev's son Evgeny.

The Daily Mail and General trust group will retain a 24.9% stake in the newspaper and will continue to print and distribute it.

It is thought the Daily Mails' main incentive behind the sale is a cash flow problem stemming from a market wide slump in print revenues, with the paper currently estimated to be losing up to 20 million Pounds per year.

The final details of the deal should be agreed in February, but the entrepreneur will face an uphill struggle reviving a daily which lost market share after the launch of free competitors. DMGT Chief Executive, Martin Morgan said staff and shareholders would ‘benefit from the reduction of losses.’