Johnston Press in talks over buying the i newspaper from Evening Standard owner Alexander Lebedev

Catherine Neilan
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A new British newspaper known as 'i' is
The move prompts questions about the future of The Independent (Source: Getty)

ESI Media has confirmed it is in advanced talks with Johnson Press to buy the Independent's spin-off newspaper I.

A figure of £24m has been put on the paper, which was launched in October 2010 with a cover price of 20p, though that has not been confirmed.

The Independent - which Alexander Lebedev and his family bought for £1 in March 2010 - is not included in discussions, and there is as yet no word on what the sale process will mean for the older and costlier of the two titles.

Steve Auckland, group chief executive of ESI Media, said in a statement: "I can confirm that we are in discussion with Johnston Press regarding the sale of i newspaper.

"At this stage no decision has been made and we realise the uncertainty that this news will cause our employees and customers. Johnston Press are bound by strict PLC guidelines so unfortunately we can make no further comment at this time.

"ESI Media remains committed to our brands, building on our fast growing global footprint, whilst cementing our place as the most important destination for audiences in the capital."

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