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London Paper closes

It is understood that the London Paper's final day of publication is likely to be Friday 18 September. Today's announcement signals an end to the London freesheet wars, which began almost exactly three years ago in August 2006, when News International decided to launch an afternoon freesheet and Associated Newspapers retaliated to protect the London Evening Standard and its morning freesheet Metro by launching London Lite. "The strategy at News International over the past 18 months has been to streamline our operations and focus investment on our core titles," said James Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive, News Corporation Europe and Asia. "The team at the London Paper has made great strides in a short space of time with innovative design and a fresh approach but the performance of the business in a difficult free evening newspaper sector has fallen short of expectations. We have taken a tough decision that reflects our priorities as a business." A spokesman for Daily Mail & General Trust, which owns Associated Newspapers, said: "We are watching developments with interest." The London Paper recorded a pre-tax loss of £12.9m in the year to 29 June 2008 on a turnover of £14.1m. In the previous 10 months it had lost £16.8m. The paper had a free distribution of 500,348 copies in July, about 100,000 more than London Lite. London Lite got to the streets first on 30 August 2006, while the London Paper launched on 4 September. The ongoing battle hit the Evening Standard's paid-for circulation and eventually forced DMGT to sell control of the title to the Russian businessman Alexander Lebedev earlier this year. News International's other aim in launching the title was to take on DMGT's successful morning freesheet, Metro, which in good times before the recession made profits of £8m a year. The company hoped ultimately to bid against Metro for the morning London tube distribution contract. But News International did not reckon on the ferocity of DMGT, which cou


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