Scottish Media Group Dismisses Break Up Allegations as ‘Complete Nonsense’

11 March 2002

Quondam Murdoch henchman Andrew Neil - in his glory days editor of the Sunday Times and nowadays in the employ of reclusive financiers the Barclay twins as publisher in chief of Press Holdings - has been mixing the mischief about rival Scottish Media Group, Caledonia's largest media organisation.

A front page story in this weekend’s issue of the Barclays’ weekly newspaper the Business, published by Neil, claimed that debt-beset SMG is in technical breach of its loan agreements and has been ordered by its bankers to restructure – in plain English, to break up its TV, radio and newspaper empire.

Its Virgin Radio unit is up for sale, claimed the report, as are its two Scottish TV franchises Border and Grampian. But the story was roundly refuted as “complete nonsense” by an SMG spokesperson, who added: “It comes as no surprise to us that it was run in the Business, a newspaper run by Andrew Neil who has made no secret of his desire to run our newspapers.”

Neil, who is also publisher of The Scotsman, a daily rival to SMG’s Glasgow Herald, apparently has a prodigious appetite for editors of the former title, having consumed six in as many years, according to MediaGuardian.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff