i Newspaper
The i newspaper has been a huge success for the publisher of the Independent titles Getty

The print edition of UK newspapers The Independent and The Independent on Sunday will be shut down, their publisher has confirmed. Meanwhile, the publication's subsidiary i newspaper will be sold to local press group Johnston Press.

The last edition of The Independent will be published on 26 March and the final Independent On Sunday on 20 March.

The Indy's website, independent.co.uk, will continue.

Evgeny Lebedev, the newspapers' owner, also confirmed some employees will be made redundant though he did not specify how many of the 150 full-time workers will lose their jobs.

"A number of employees at Independent Print Limited will be made redundant," Lebedev told Independent staff in a letter. "I regret this, but can confirm that all those on employment contracts and long term casuals who are being made redundant will receive two weeks' pay, subject to conditions, for every year worked, plus your notice period."

Lebedev added that he thinks the move to an online-only model is the best strategy for "the world's most free-thinking newsbrand".

The i

Rumours of the £24m sale of the i to Johnston Press surfaced on Thursday (11 February) with The Guardian first reporting that the print edition of The Independent may be facing closure.

The i, the cheaper briefing daily, launched in 2010 and has been a hugely successful brand for the media company. Johnston Press said it is keen on the i's country-wide advertisement opportunities.

"This is a transformational acquisition for Johnston Press and an important step towards delivering our long-term strategy. i is a highly regarded newspaper with a clear market position and a loyal readership."

End of an era

The Independent launched as a broadsheet in 1986 by Newspaper Publishing PLC. It was first edited by Andreas Whittam Smith, who founded the newspaper with Matthew Symonds and Stephen Glover.

Within three years of the launch, The Independent's daily sales had surged to 400,000 but the initially successful papers struggled to remain competitive after the turn of the century. In 2000, circulation had halved from its peak, and in 2015, the newspaper's daily sales fell to 60,000 copies.

In recent years, the newspapers, which had moved to a tabloid format, became known for their iconic front pages.