Fly on the Wall 1578 


In an act of relative sanity, Gannett shareholders have — at least temporarily — turned back MNG/Alden Global Capital's attempted hostile takeover.

For Memphians, that means The Commercial Appeal avoided falling into the fire of hedge-fund ownership, though it remains in a frying pan heated by economic pressure, and hedge-fund created trends. In the short run, it means we won't lose the city's historic paper of record, giving the newly right-sized and relocated newspaper an opportunity to claw its way back to relevance.

Gannett chairman John Jeffry Louis sounded a bit like someone just awakened from a cryo-chamber after sleeping for 30 years. His company, USA Today, quoted him as saying he was "laser focused on transformations" and the process of securing a business model that will "thrive in the digital future."

Meanwhile, MNG — a company famous for its slash-and-burn roadmap to double-digit profits — read like a broadcast from Bizarro world.

Via MNG's official statement: "Gannett's newspapers are critical local resources, and we hope that Gannett's incumbent board and management shift course to embrace a modern approach to local news that will save newspapers and serve communities."

To summarize: One-and-a-half cheers for the less bad guys!

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More on our tempest-tossed paper of record. Here's hoping the Iowan editors win awards for reporting this miraculous miracle: "Don Johnson's last words after Tennessee execution." Bless their hearts.

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