Johnston Press coup stumbles after Norwegian billionaire activist wrongly fills out a form

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Activist Christen Ager-Hanssen (not pictured) wants to install former SNP leader Alex Salmond on the board of Johnston Press (Source: Getty)

A Norwegian billionaire activist has been left with egg on his face after attempting to trigger a Johnston Press boardroom coup.

Christen Ager-Hanssen, who owns 20 per cent of Johnston Press, called for a shareholder meeting and major changes to the board on Monday.

Included in the shake-up was a demand to install former Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond as chairman.

But this morning, Johnston Press revealed Ager-Hanssen had filled out the necessary paperwork incorrectly and had been forced to write to the owner of the Swedish Metro to tell him so.

Read more: Let battle commence! Johnston Press activist demands shareholder showdown

It is understood that the requisition for a general meeting was filed under the name of Ager-Hanssen media firm Custos Group. But his interest in the owner of the i and Yorkshire Post newspapers is through nominee accounts and must be submitted accordingly.

Today's revelation is the second time that Ager-Hanssen has stumbled in his attempt to take control of Johnston Press. Last month, he attempted to appoint four directors of the board. This was blocked after debt agreements stipulated only existing board members can approve new director appointments.

Read more: Johnston Press under fire from shareholder seeking to oust its chair

Statement from Johnston Press – Invalid requisition notice

The Board of Johnston Press (the "Board") announces it has been advised that the requisition notice received on 6 November 2017 by the Company from Custos Group AS ("Custos") is invalid and it has informed Custos accordingly.

In the event that the Board receives a valid requisition request, the Board will put the proposed resolution(s) to Shareholders.