Gannett bids on Tribune Publishing, wants an answer

Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:29pm EDT
 
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By Liana B. Baker and Sai Sachin R

(Reuters) - Tribune Publishing Co is reviewing an unsolicited and possibly unwelcome $815 million takeover bid from Gannett Co Inc, a move by Gannett to gain scale as the newspaper industry continues to consolidate.

Gannett, publisher of USA Today, announced on Monday that it had offered to pay $12.25 in cash per share of Tribune, a 63 percent premium to its closing price on Friday.

It made the offer nearly two weeks ago, but Tribune has not yet responded. That has frustrated Gannett's management and spurred the company to publicize its offer, Gannett Chief Executive Bob Dickey said in an interview.

Dickey said he wants to sit down with Tribune's board and iron out a deal.

"We need to sit down with them and discuss the offer that is in front of them," he said. "I'm confident if we cooperate together we can find a way to make an agreement that works for both parties."

Tribune said on Monday that it would respond as quickly as possible after Gannett said that its target has refused "to engage in a dialogue."

The proposed deal comes at a difficult time for newspaper publishers, which are grappling with high costs, shrinking advertising dollars and a broad move toward digital content.

Gannett has been on a mission to buy up rivals to create a larger, more efficient company by expanding its footprint into more cities and expanding its scale.   Continued...

 
The Chicago Tribune building is seen in Chicago, April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young