Getty in £500,000 deal for ailing 'Oldie'

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The Independent Online

Fresh from intervening to save the Conservative Party, Sir John Paul Getty is about to rescue another ageing institution in trouble.

The billionaire oil tycoon is putting together a deal to buy The Oldie magazine, which has struggled to break even despite a loyal readership of senior citizens.

Sir Paul's bid, with the former magazine publisher John Brown, follows his donation of £5m to the Tories, given because he feels the party is the best hope of defending the British way of life.

The Oldie, founded in 1993, was put up for sale by its publisher, Naim Attallah, last November but rumours of closure grew as no buyers appeared.

Under the deal proposed by Sir Paul, he will inject £500,000, and Mr Brown, who last month sold his magazine group, which includes Viz, to the former Loaded editor James Brown, will become The Oldie's publisher. They will both get a controlling stake in the company. Richard Ingrams would stay on as editor.

The deal is likely to be confirmed by the end of July, and John Brown said: "If it all goes through it will certainly save The Oldie. It's up to us and The Oldie to make it work."

Mr Attallah, 70, said: "I'm pleased to say that negotiations are in progress and I will be delighted if everything goes well. Paul Getty loves The Oldie."

While welcoming the billionaire's largesse, he rejected suggestions that the magazine was in as much need of help as the Conservative Party.

"Don't compare us to the Tories. We may be ageing but I would hope we are much more active," he said.