Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Russian Lebedev is Evening Standard's 10th owner - if you don't include the Germans

As Russian billionaire and former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev finally clinched the deal to take a majority 75.1 per cent stake in the Evening Standard today it is interesting to note he is the paper's 10th owner.
Associated Newspapers has agreed the sale of the Evening Standard for what it is described as a "nominal sum" to Evening Press Ltd, a company formed by Alexander Lebedev and his son Evgeny Lebedev and owned by Lebedev Holdings Ltd.
'The Encyclopedia of the British Press', edited by ex-Fleet Street and Standard journalist Dennis Griffiths, describes the Standard as the "oldest evening newspaper in Great Britain" and "a great survivor" that has absorbed nine other titles.
The Encyclopedia says the paper was launched as the Standard by Charles Baldwin as an afternoon paper on May 1827. It then passed to Edward Baldwin, owner of the Morning Herald, who went bankrupt trying to beat The Times.
The next owner was James Johnstone who on June 29, converted it into a "first-class morning paper." Two years later on Thursday, June 11 1859, Johnstone launched the Evening Standard, published at 3.15 p.m. daily "containing all the latest intelligence up to one hour of going to press".
With the death of Johnstone, William Mudford, the editor, took over as chief executive. In 1904, the Standard was sold to C. Arthur Pearson but increasing blindness led him to sell it to Davison Dalziel. He in turn sold the Evening Standard to Edward Hulton junior.
Lord Beaverbrook secured the Evening Standard from Hulton in 1923 and for the next 40 year it was "his joy" as a fashionable London evening.
In 1977 it was purchased, along with the Daily and Sunday Express by the property and construction company Trafalgar House headed by Lord Matthews. In 1980 the Evening Standard absorbed the Evening News and six years later Associated Newspapers (Daily Mail & General Trust) assumed full control of the title.
'The Encyclopedia of the British Press' lists as the papers absorbed during its 181-year-history by the Standard as Traveller, Lane's Star, The British Traveller, The Albion, St. James's Gazette, Pall Mall Gazette, Globe, Evening News and Star.
Intriguingly, it also reveals that one issue of the Evening Standard, number 35941, was published by the German government during the Second World War as a propaganda exercise.

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