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Johnston Press at centre of bid speculation but denies ‘any disposal process underway’ for the Scotsman

August 24th, 2009Posted by in Journalism, Newspapers

Yesterday, the Sunday Times reported that a ‘consortium of Scottish businessmen is trying to buy The Scotsman newspaper from the debt-laden Johnston Press’. It claimed:

“Martin Gilbert, the chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, has joined forces with Edinburgh financier Ben Thomson and property developer Mark Shaw to acquire the daily.

“Talks have taken place in recent weeks but the two sides are believed to be a long way apart on price. Industry sources say Johnston is holding out for about £40m for The Scotsman, which it bought from the Barclay brothers for £160m in 2005.

(…)

“Sources close to Johnston confirmed an informal approach for the division, which includes Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News, but said there were no plans for a formal sale.”

Also of note is the claim that JP is in discussions with Newsquest, publisher of rival The Herald, ‘about a joint venture to pool resources. Previous attempts to merge the titles were blocked by politicians’.

AllMediaScotland links to the claims here and Shaun Milne comments here.

Like allmediascotland, Journalism.co.uk has received this statement from Johnston Press:

“Johnston Press notes the press speculation regarding the potential disposal of the Scotsman.

“Whilst Company policy is not to comment on such speculation, Johnston Press can confirm that the board does not have any disposal process underway in this regard.”

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