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Highfield rubbishes reports of Alex Salmond bid to buy flagship daily

SalmondJohnston Press boss Ashley Highfield has rubbished “completely unfounded” reports that Alex Salmond is involved in a bid to buy one of its flagship dailies.

The former First Minister of Scotland, left, was named in the national press at the weekend as being part of a consortium planning to take over The Scotsman from JP.

Both the Sunday Times and the Scottish Sun published the claims, but JP chief executive Ashley has dismissed the reports as “untruths”.

Ashley moved to reassure Scotsman staff ahead of a celebration marking the newspaper’s 200th anniversary, which will be held at the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.

In a memo, which has been seen by HTFP, he said: “Some of you may have read in The Times or the Scottish Sun this weekend – or since heard about – rumours that Alex Salmond is in talks to buy The Scotsman.

“I would like to reassure you all that this is absolutely not the case. This isn’t the first time that rumours have speculated about potential buyers’ interest of our national title in Scotland. I can’t confirm why such untruths appear in other media but I can confirm that they are completely unfounded.

“I appreciate that reading these kind of stories in other media creates worry and concern – I hope this email alleviates such uneasiness.

“The Scotsman is a flagship title for Johnston Press. We are committed to its future in print and online and we are very proud of its incredible journey thus far.”

Mr Salmond, of the Scottish National Party, resigned from the First Minister position in 2014 following the Scottish independence referendum, which saw voters back Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom.

Previously the MP for Banff and Buchan from 1987 to 2010, he also represented the Gordon constituency from 2015 before losing the seat at this June’s General Election.

The Scotsman has historically been a pro-Unionist title and supported the triumphant ‘No’ campaign prior to 2014 vote.

However the paper’s editorial director Frank O’Donnell, who took up the role earlier this year, has pledged that the newspaper will remain neutral in any future referendum.


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  • October 10, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Longer toothed JP staff will recall JP overpaid for Scotsman and has been burdened by the debt ever since.

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  • October 10, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Sad news from Ashley then for Scotsman staff after having their hopes built up at the weekend.

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  • October 10, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Mr Salmond refutes Mr Highflield’s claims, confirming he was leading a consortium to purchase a Saturday edition of the paper. saying ‘I asked my neighbours if they wanted to chip in to buy last Saturdays £1.95 copy of the Scotsman, but last minute negotiations with the newsagent lead me to buy copies of The Sun, Daily Star and i all for £2, so we all had a paper each, despite the extra 5p cost”

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  • October 10, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    I would think it would be difficult to reassure Scotsman staff on anything. The company is a shambles, producing a very poor quality daily paper riddled with mistakes. Coupled with constant redundancies, I would think any half decent journalist would be constantly looking over their shoulder as to where the axe was likely to swing next.

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