A significant stake has been bought by Saudi Sultan Muhammad Abuljadayel, who now owns between 25 and 50 percent of the company.
A new co-owner of The Independent, which used to produce the Independent Pink / Rainbow List, has been announced as a Saudi investor, Sultan Muhammad Abuljadayel, 42, acquired over a quarter of the company. The deal values the Independent Digital News and Media company at £100 million.
The Guardian reports that filings with Companies House show that Abuljadayel is based in Saudi and has no other business interests in the UK. The Independent itself released a statement which said that Abuljadayel is a “minority shareholder”.
The move could prove to be controversial with its journalists, who are known for their liberalism and criticism of countries where there are known human rights issues.
A spokesperson said Sultan Mohamed Abuljadayel’s investment would, “secure further strategic growth” for the news outlet, Last year the outlet became the first national newspaper to turn digital-only.
“At the same time, the editorial independence of The Independent 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 into the future.”
Editor Christian Broughton said the outlet, “would remain truly independent of any shareholders or business interests”, adding that the title’s reporting on Saudi Arabia would not be affected by the deal.
Other shareholders in Independent Digital News and Media include company directors Evgeny Lebedev and Justin Byam Shaw.