Johnston Press chief dismisses 'unfounded' claims former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond in talks to buy The Scotsman

Claims that former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond is planning to buy The Scotsman are “completely unfounded” according to the chief executive of Johnston Press, which owns the newspaper.

The Sunday Times claimed in an article that the ex SNP leader, who lost his parliamentary seat in the last election, is in talks to buy the newspaper.

Salmond is said to want greater diversity in the Scottish press,which is predominantly unionist with only a handful of pro-indepencence titles including The Scotsman and The National.

Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield told staff in a memo, reported by HtfP, that the claims were untrue.

He said: “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.”

Salmond did support a similar takeover in 2009 but that deal fell through when the £40m asking price wasn’t met.

The Scotsman is one of Johnston Press’ flagship titles and celebrates its 200th birthday tomorrow with a party at Holyrood.

Sales of the title have shrunk to 21,000 down 14 per cent in the last half of 2017.

Picture: Reuters/Russell Cheyne

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