Owner of UK’s Daily Mail buys ‘i’ newspaper from JPI media

DMGT set to pay £49.6m for title, promising to uphold ‘politically neutral approach’

Owner of UKs Daily Mail buys i newspaper from JPI media                                 

Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) has said it will buy the “i” newspaper and website for £49.6m ($63.9m) from JPI media.

The Competition and Markets Authority will have to approve this deal, which was announced on November 29.

The “i” is a low price sister newspaper of the UK’s online Independent newspaper, and was launched in 2010. It was sold to JPI media from Evgeny Lebedev in 2016, when the Independent print publication was closed down. 

DMGT chief executive, Paul Zwillenberg said in a statement: “The ‘i’ has a different editorial style and tone to the Mail and the audience has a different demographic. I want to make absolutely clear that we will ensure that the editorial independence of the ‘i’ is preserved.”

He added: “Its readers value its distinctive style and politically neutral approach and we are committed to maintaining that.”

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn expressed outrage at the sale in a tweet, noting that just two billionaires now own half of the country’s top ten daily newspapers. 

Corbyn’s tweet refers to Jonathan Harmsworth, 4th Viscount Rothermere, who is the chairman and controlling shareholder of DMGT which owns the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Metro newspapers. It also has a 25 per cent stake in the London Evening Standard, the free daily newspaper of the capital. The “i” already shares offices in London with the DMGT titles.

Rupert Murdoch is likely the other billionaire referenced. His company News Corp owns the Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun newspapers through subsidiary News UK.

In 2018, the “i” reported an operating profit of £11m from £34m in sales. The Daily Mail has a circulation of around 1.1 million, according to industry statistics, making it the second most-bought newspaper after The Sun.

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