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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Saudi businessman buys stake in The Independent

Sultan Abuljadayel paid between £12 million and £25m for up to 50 per cent of London-based news website

A Saudi investor has acquired a major stake in The Independent, the London-based news website.

Sultan Abuljadayel, a member of a well-known family from the west of the country, has invested between £12 million (Dh58m) and £25m in the media company to secure a stake of between 25 per cent and 50 per cent.

Independent Digital News and Media, the holding company, was keen to stress that the investment would not influence the website’s editorial line.

A spokesman said: “The editorial independence has been formally protected by a new agreement between the shareholders. The new investment and the guarantee of editorial independence will allow The Independent to flourish in the future.”

The Lebedev family, who bought The Independent in 2010, turned the title into a digital-only product last year. Since then, its website has seen a large increase in traffic and is now profitable. As well as Evgeny Lebedev and now Mr Abuljadayel, the website’s other significant shareholder is businessman Justin Byam-Shaw.

The Independent was founded in 1986 and quickly attracted a huge readership thanks to the quality of its journalism. It experienced a resurgence in 2004 after shrinking the size of the paper from broadsheet to tabloid. But years of under-investment and stagnating advertising revenue led to the decision to close the print product.

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