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Alex Salmond Media

Alex Salmond snubbed as potential Johnston Press saviour

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By John Glenday, Reporter

July 27, 2018 | 2 min read

Alex Salmond’s bid to wrest the reins of Johnston Press has been thwarted before it began after his one-time backer, Norwegian investor Christen Ager-Hanssen, decided that the SNP figurehead had become too ‘politically infected’.

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Alex Salmond snubbed as potential Johnston Press savior

Ager-Hanssen currently owns 20% of Johnston Press and had been positioning Salmond as chairman in a bid to re-energise the flagging publisher.

The Norwegian activist had hoped to pull off a hostile takeover last October but was blocked by a clause that would automatically transfer the company to its lenders if the current board were forced out.

Undeterred Ager-Hanssen is now pursuing a more conciliatory methods, opening talks to build his shareholding to 30% while a boardroom shake-out to bring in a range of talent rather than focus on a single divisive persona.

Outlining his vision to BBC Scotland Ager-Hanssen said: “Now that we're going into restructuring, we'd like to have a board with more knowledge and understanding about the technology element of media rather than a public figurehead.”

Ailing Johnston Press has been beset by sliding revenues and circulations sparking fears that it could default on £220m of debt due for repayment in under a year, threatening its continued existence.

Since being rejected by his constituents in Gordon at the general election Salmond has turned to Kremlin-backed RT to front The Alex Salmond Show, a political chat show intended to outflank ‘mainstream media’ - despite concerns the station may have sought to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.

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