The new owner of the i newspaper plans to expand into Northern Ireland, hire more than 30 staff and launch its own website. Johnston Press, owner of more than 220 local titles including the Scotsman and Yorkshire Post, has acquired the i from Evgeny Lebedev for £24.4m. Ashley Highfield, the chief executive of Johnston Press, said that the surprising move to add a national title to its portfolio was “transformational” for the publisher. The 17 i editorial staff will transfer to Johnston Press under employment law, then there will be a hiring spree with 34 new roles being created. Highfield said that he hoped that “most” of the hirings would be staff that are due to be made redundant when former stablemate the Independent and Independent on Sunday close their print editions next month. Under the deal the i’s 51 editorial staff would then remain in its current offices in Derry Street, London, as Johnston Press only has corporate offices in the capital. Highfield said he did not know where the staff would move to when the lease on the office space runs out in 2017. Johnston Press has also agreed a three-year licensing deal at a cost of £850,000… Read full this story
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