Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Gannett: MNG Trying to "Derail Our Progress"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 17, 2019 at 1:04 PM

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Gannett Co., owner of The Commercial Appeal, urged its shareholders Wednesday to vote for its slate of board candidates to stave off a hostile takeover from rival media company, MNG Enterprises.

MNG is backed by the Alden Global Capital hedge fund and is also known as Digital First Media. MNG recently sent Gannett an unsolicited offer to buy the company for more than $1 billion. Gannett board members rejected the offer.

MNG later offered up a slate of candidates to run for Gannett’s board, a move to take control of the company and, apparently, force the sale of the company to MNG.

The final vote on those candidates is slated for Gannett’s annual shareholder meeting on May 16th. On Wednesday, Gannett sent a letter to shareholders touting the experience and expertise of its nominees.

Gannett criticized MNG’s slate. It said MNG is “attempting to derail our progress and take control of Gannett.”

“In contrast to Gannett’s eight independent nominees, all of MNG’s nominees have irreconcilable conflicts of interest given their close affiliations with MNG and/or Alden – and in some cases their fiduciary duties to MNG and Alden,” reads the letter.

Touting its own slate, Gannett pointed to its board's actions to build a “best-in-class digital marketing solutions organization and local-to-national news network that have driven growth in digital subscribers, audience engagement, and advertising and marketing services revenues.”

Here are some of the numbers Gannett listed as signs of its growth:

• Growing digital subscribers by 46 percent, bringing total paid digital-only subscribers to over 500,000.

• Growing ReachLocal revenues by 15 percent.

• Growing national digital advertising revenue by 19 percent and transforming USA Today’s advertising revenue to be 75 percent digital.

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