But such an association need not have involved a major equity stake and board memberships. There was another option, as Patrick Morrissey's (the chief executive) business plan, presented to the board on 21 December, demonstrated. This was to gain the benefits of joint production and distribution without surrendering an equity stake to the provider of the shared facilities. This course would have given us greater managerial independence, and hence greater editorial independence, afforded a keener price for the provision of facilities which would have been at arm's length, and avoided swingeing cuts in editorial budgets - which were never a feature of the business plan.
Regrettably, you and our Spanish and Italian shareholders had already committed yourselves without waiting to consider the other alternatives that offered. The viability of the Morrissey route was confirmed by Dr O'Reilly's willingness to invest after he had reviewed the plan in detail.
However, that is all in the past. I sincerely hope that the new arrangements, which, admittedly, give the Independent papers strong financial backing, will afford a regime in which they once again flourish.
IAN HAY DAVISON
Newspaper Publishing Plc
19 MarchReuse content