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Fresh twist in JP takeover battle as investor’s EGM demand ruled ‘invalid’

Christen AgerA formal demand for shareholders to consider a boardroom switch at Johnston Press is “invalid”, according to the company.

The regional publisher says a requisition notice it received from Custos Group calling for an extraordinary general meeting on Monday does not stand.

Custos is the investment vehicle for Norwegian businessman Christen Ager-Hanssen, left, who owns 20.01pc of Johnston Press.

Christen is demanding the removal of JP chairman Camilla Rhodes and non-executive director Mike Butterworth, and their replacement by former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and former Local World boss Steve Auckland.

But a statement issued by JP today reads: “The board of Johnston Press announces it has been advised that the requisition notice received on 6 November 2017 by the company from Custos Group AS is invalid and it has informed Custos accordingly.

“In the event that the board receives a valid requisition request, the board will put the proposed resolution(s) to shareholders.”

Christen has previously attacked JP chief executive Ashley Highfield on Twitter, accusing him of “abuse of power” by “using JP and its proud titles to fight personal battles”.

Ashley, who has run the company since 2011, faces the loss of his job if the coup succeeds, with Christen previously telling HTFP he sees Steve as his potential successor.

In a Twitter post accompanied by a photograph of Ashley this morning, Christen wrote: “To JPR board: Obstruction and shareholder ignorance. The inevitable will always happen. You can’t block the summer turning in to autumn.”

Christen told HTFP: “Winter is coming, and the board of Johnston are still sunbathing, sipping pina coladas and tripping over their flip-flops on the beach.”

8 comments

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  • November 8, 2017 at 3:55 pm
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    Truly embarrassing hearing of these desperate attempts, panic measures and loophole hunting measures he’ll go to to cling on in there

    It’s simply putting off the inevitable
    good luck to C-AH on pushing through all the smoke and mirrors

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  • November 8, 2017 at 5:31 pm
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    Whatever the deficiencies of JP, Alex Salmond can’t happen, for the sake of journalism. Yes I am aware of the irony, given JPs contribution to the trade.

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  • November 9, 2017 at 10:52 am
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    Things can’t actually get any worse at JP so good luck to C A-H. At least he seems to give a toss about newspapers and news, unlike AH and his commanders. This might just be the little glimmer of hope that us staffers need to keep us hanging on in there.

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  • November 9, 2017 at 11:34 am
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    “Summer turning into Autumn”.

    “Winter is coming.”

    And then it’s spring. And the whole process starts again.

    My point?

    Not sure.

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  • November 9, 2017 at 12:30 pm
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    Simply don’t understand the interest in such a zombie company.

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  • November 9, 2017 at 1:05 pm
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    OK guys. Let’s treat this like a story we are about to run. Why is the notice invalid? Who says so? Is C A-H going to challenge this legally? What is Ashers going to do next? What does Camilla, chair of the board, have to say about it? What has happened to the share price since this announcement that the notice is invalid?

    It’s Friday tomorrow so can we get some answers on these points overnight? Tx

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  • November 9, 2017 at 3:26 pm
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    I’m in PR now having jumped ship from journalism when I was forced to sub my own copy but even for me this pic seems a bit odd. Only The Beetles belong on a rooftop, surely.

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  • November 9, 2017 at 6:25 pm
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    Calling all surviving ad reps: Get looking for other jobs now! Be prepared!!

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