Report: CJ parent Gannett raised hostile bid 20% during meeting with L.A. Times owner; deal appears closer than ever

The latest Gannett offer for rival newspaper publisher Tronc is in the mid-$18-a-share range vs. the last known offer of $15, and came during a face-to-face meeting in Los Angeles with Gannett CEO Bob Dickey; Gannett chairman John Jeffry Louis; Tronc chairman Michael Ferro, and Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn.

CJ August 27 2016
Today’s front page.

That’s according to a report yesterday by industry watcher Ken Doctor of Politico, who’s been bird-dogging the unfolding drama. He says Ferro might agree to a deal at $20 or slightly less.

Wall Street took Doctor’s report seriously enough to bid up Tronc’s TRNC as much as 8% yesterday, before it slid back to a closing price of $16.84, up 3% for the day. Gannett’s GCI closed at $11.93, down less than 1%.

A deal for the owner of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, nine other large newspapers, plus dozens of smaller titles, could have far-reaching implications for The Courier-Journal and its 108 sister titles, depending on how Gannett reallocates personnel and financial resources to absorb the Tronc titles. Louisville is a regional headquarters for a customer service center and a page-production hub handling design work for other dailies in the chain.

Tronc logoDoctor’s latest story is revealing because it’s the first to report the $18 figure — until yesterday, reports only said Gannett was preparing an unspecified higher bid — and it shows Ferro and the board are now engaged in talks. Previously, Tronc had refused to even negotiate, despite pressure from a major hedge fund investor.

Underscoring that last point, Ferro and the board met a week ago to discuss a counter-offer, although it’s unclear whether one was formally made to Gannett, Doctor says. Still, his conclusion yesterday: “It’s apparently no longer a question of whether to sell or not, but for how much.”

3 thoughts on “Report: CJ parent Gannett raised hostile bid 20% during meeting with L.A. Times owner; deal appears closer than ever”

  1. I can’t find this on Tronc’s website, but Wikipedia points out the company owns much more than the 11 major dailies. Its full newspaper holdings are far more extensive, according to this list, which I’ve arranged by state:

    Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California)
    Daily Pilot (Newport Beach, California)
    Huntington Beach Independent (Huntington Beach, California)
    Coastline Pilot (Laguna Beach, California)
    Burbank Leader (Burbank, California)
    Glendale News Press (Glendale, California)
    La Canada Valley Sun (La Canada Flintridge, California)

    Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois)
    SouthtownStar (Chicago, Illinois)
    Post-Tribune (Merrillville, Indiana)
    Naperville Sun (Naperville, Illinois)
    Elgin Courier-News (Elgin, Illinois)
    Aurora Beacon (Aurora, Illinois)
    Lake County News-Sun (Gurnee, Illinois)
    Pioneer Press

    San Diego Union-Tribune (San Diego, California) and eight community weeklies

    The Capital (Annapolis, Maryland)
    Maryland Gazette
    Bowie Blade (Bowie, Maryland)
    Crofton-West County Gazette (Crofton, Maryland)
    Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland)
    Baltimore City Paper (Baltimore, Maryland)
    Carroll County Times (Westminster, Maryland)

    Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
    El Sentinel del Sur de la Florida (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
    Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Florida)
    El Sentinel (Orlando, Florida)

    The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Connecticut)
    ReminderNews
    The Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut)
    Greenwich Time (Greenwich, Connecticut)

    The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania)

    Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia)

    The Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg, Virginia)
    The Tidewater Review

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  2. God help the people at these newspapers and their communities if the present owners shake hands with Satan and this goes through. Yes, it’ll be that bad for them.

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  3. GCI is not the only “satan” in the media space. In fact, in some ways GCI is a little more humane. Every media company in North America has reduced staff and content. There are different ways to obtain news and information. What does a newspaper nameplate provide?

    Simple. Legitimate reporting.

    But legitimate reporting has a price, and advertising revenues have dropped because no one covers the things important any more. Little league. School board news. Stuff you just can’t get on T.V. or on most websites. Newspapers lost focus and tried to maintain profit margins that were obscene.

    I should know, I’ve been around for a long time.

    #30#

    that shows how long I’ve been around

    Like

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