The Sunday Times Business section reports today that a consortium of Scottish businessmen is trying to buy The Scotsman from Johnston Press.
It says the bid involves Martin Gilbert, the chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, Edinburgh financier Ben Thomson and property developer Mark Shaw.
Secret talks are said to have taken place in recent weeks but the two sides are believed to be a long way apart on price. Industry sources, the Sunday Times says, claim Johnston is holding out for about £40m for The Scotsman, which it bought from the Barclay brothers for £160m in 2005.
It is also claimed the group is in parallel discussions with Newsquest, publisher of rival Glasgow-based Herald, about a joint venture to pool resources. Previous attempts to merge the titles were blocked by politicians.
There have been previous rumours that debt-laden Johnston Press was willing to sell flagship titles The Scotsman and the Yorkshire Post, but they have always been denied by the company.