'Independent' shares request

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The Independent Online
Newspaper Publishing, publisher of the Independent and the Independent on Sunday, has given Soginvest Banca seven days to provide it with information about the ultimate beneficial ownership of a block of shares in the company now owned by the Swiss-based bank. Yesterday Soginvest, a subsidiary of Credit Industriel d'Alsace et de Lorraine, a large French bank, said that it had paid pounds 3.50 a share for a 2.375 per cent stake of Newspaper Publishing. The shares could play a key role in the battle for the company - a consortium including Mirror Group Newspapers which is bidding for Newspaper Publishing currently speaks for 47 per cent of the shares.

However, Tony O'Reilly's Independent Newspapers has recently taken a 24.99 per cent stake in the company, making it difficult for the bid as originally conceived to succeed.