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.
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.