Activist investor Christen Ager Hanssen vowed last night to fight the sale of Scottish publisher Johnston Press to a US hedge fund in a pre-pack administration deal.
Mr Hanssen owned 25% of Edinburgh-based Johnston Press through his investment vehicle, Custos Group.
That stake is now worthless after the Edinburgh-based firm – home to titles including the Scotsman and i, as well as the Buchan Observer, Fraserburgh Herald, Stornoway Gazette, Ellon Times, Deeside Piper and Mearns Leader – collapsed into administration on Friday night.
Creditors led by New York-based hedge fund GoldenTree Asset Management agreed to inject £35 million of new money into the business and reduce its net debt to £85m, from £220m.
Johnston Press assets are now owned by a new company, JPIMedia, which was registered at Companies House nearly two months ago.
David King, the publisher’s former chief executive, retains his position at JPIMedia.
The deal is said to have “saved” more than 2,000 jobs, but 250 workers face a cut to their pensions and shareholders have lost all their money.
Pre-pack deals are controversial because creditors can lose out as some debts are scrapped.
Mr Hanssen said the Johnston Press sale amounted to asset-stripping and was nothing to do with saving jobs.
He said he planned to sue JPIMedia, adding: “I am a warrior, a street fighter and I am going to make them accountable.”