OFT clears way for Alexander Lebedev to buy Independent

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The Independent Online

The prospect of a deal between Independent News & Media and Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev to take over The Independent and the Independent on Sunday moved a step closer today after the UK's competition watchdog said there was no need for an enquiry.

The Office of Fair Trading announced the proposed takeover had not been found to qualify for an investigation that could have prevented a deal on competition grounds.

"There is no competition barrier," a spokesman said.

Lebedev and INM entered an exclusive non-binding agreement about the papers in December.

INM is expected to report financial results next week.