Earnings: Independent ’07 Online Revs Up 108.5 Percent, Labels O’Brien ‘Dissident’

The Independent publisher Independent News & Media says online revenue rose 108.5 percent to 52.5 million euros over 2007. In full-year results for the 12 months to December 31, it credits an expanded range of classifieds sites for the growth – during the year, it launched LoadzaCards for its Belfast Telegraph, restructured its online operations with a new management structure and relaunched Independent.co.uk. Interactive director Richard Withey quit in December.

UK online revenue grew a claimed 199.3 percent over the period but, at home Ireland, it grew far less at 43.3 percent, despite the relaunch of Independent.ie. Its UK online operations claimed 4.7 million unique monthly users. INM also has investments in German price comparison site Verivox, games site Cashcade, image search index Imprezzeo and VoIP outfit Truphone, though organic growth is the priority.

More generally, UK revenue rose 18.3 percent to 268.1 million euros, “against a backdrop of a difficult UK regional advertising market”, and The Independent scored a record circulation for the decade. Company revenue rose 2.3 percent to 1.67 billion euros. But the board is not appreciating Dennis O’Brien’s attempt to own more shares in INM: “The board is now formally declaring Mr O’Brien a ‘dissident shareholder‘, who consistently voices disagreement with the company’s strategy while continuing to buy shares and who is not acting in the best interests of all stakeholders.”

O’Brien this week took more shares, taking him up to 22.15 percent of the company – close to the magical 30 percent that would trigger a mandatory takeover offer. (Via Reuters).

Release & Financials