Gannett’s USA Today national sales team will lead the go-to-market strategy on behalf of both companies. It will take the lead on pitching clients and agencies about the new partnership, which is being dubbed the “combined power of local.” Several new ad products will help national brands reach local audiences across the local news sites from the combined Gannett and McClatchy portfolios.
Gannett Co., whose newspapers include USA Todayand 260 other dailies, set a goal of reaching 10 million paid digital subscriptions in the next five years. The move comes as the publishing industry faces an ongoing decline in advertising sales, decimating newsroom employment.
Certain employees making more than $38,000 must take one week of unpaid leave in April, May and June.
Newsy Ramps Up For 24/7 News
Executives of the newly merged Gannett, which was purchased by GateHouse, have said that while they plan major cost cuts, they hope to protect reporting jobs. Gannett CEO Mike Reed and the head of its new operating unit, Paul Bascobert, talk about their plans.
The merger creates the largest U.S. newspaper owner, bringing together about 260 daily papers, including the Arizona Republic, the Providence Journal and the Austin American-Statesman, as well as hundreds of weeklies.
Shareholders cleared the way Thursday for New Media Investment Group and USA Today owner Gannett to join forces in a deal that will create the largest U.S. media company by print circulation, and one that will also vie for the biggest online news audience nationwide. In separate votes, shareholders of each company approved New Media’s $1.13 billion acquisition of Gannett. The companies can now move forward to finalize the deal, which is expected to close Tuesday, Nov. 19.
The FCC held a meeting with private equity firm Apollo Global Management this week to ask questions about its agreement to finance New Media Investment’s planned purchase of Gannett Co., the publisher of USA Today, sources say. The FCC is concerned that the $1.8 billion loan Apollo is providing to finance the merger could violate its duopoly laws, sources say.
GateHouse and Gannett say their $1.4 billion merger will allow GateHouse to accelerate its newspapers’ move to digital while paying down huge sums GateHouse borrowed in order to fund the acquisition. But it’s unclear exactly how it will make that happen.
GateHouse Media, a chain backed by an investment firm, is buying USA Today owner Gannett Co. for $12.06 a share in cash and stock, or about $1.4 billion. The combined company would have more than 260 daily papers in the U.S. along with more than 300 weeklies.
The Wall Street Journal reports that USA Today publisher Gannett Co. has recently held merger talks with GateHouse Media, according to people familiar with the matter, a possible deal that would bring together the nation’s two largest newspaper groups by circulation. Journal subscribers can read the full story here.
The two largest newspaper chains in the country, USA Today publisher Gannett and Chicago Tribune owner Tribune, may reignite merger talks, now that both have dispatched with hostile takeovers by smaller suitors. Sources say that there have already been back-door reach-outs in recent months.
Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain, notched an important victory Thursday in its attempt to fend off a hostile takeover bid. The company, which publishes USA Today, announced that all eight of its board nominees won election based on the results of a preliminary vote. That’s a rejection of Digital First Media’s efforts to win control of Gannett by installing its own board members.
MNG Enterprises, which has dramatically slashed head count at newspapers like the Boston Herald and the Denver Post, stepped up its bid to acquire USA Today publisher Gannett on Tuesday by urging shareholders to help it replace the company’s board.
The bid by MNG Enterprises to take over USA Today publisher Gannett now has a showdown date, May 16, which the Gannett board set as the date of the annual shareholders meeting.
Under the cloud of an aggressive takeover bid, Gannett reported a dip in fourth quarter revenue Wednesday. But the company said it was encouraged by growth in digital advertising.
Alden Global Capital’s strategy: Buy newspapers, slash jobs, sell the buildings. Now it’s bidding to buy Gannett, operator of the nation’s largest chain of daily newspapers by circulation, including USA Today — as well as its $900 million in remaining property and equipment — for more than $1.3 billion.
Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain and the publisher of USA Today, rejected a takeover bid by MNG Enterprises, the hedge fund-owned company also known as Digital First Media, on Monday. The decision by Gannett’s board of directors was unanimous.
Newspaper circulation is down sharply, and so is employment in the newspaper industry. Financial cutbacks have led to the shutdown of nearly 1,800 daily and weekly newspapers since 2004. Two developments this week brought the issue into further focus. Facebook, whose success has contributed to the news business’ decline, announced Tuesday it would invest $300 million over three years in news initiatives with an emphasis in local coverage. More ominously, the hedge fund-backed Digital First Media, known for sharp cost-cutting strategies, bid to buy Gannett Co. , the publisher of USA Today and several daily newspapers across the country.
The Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the matter,” reported Monday that MNG, Enterprises, better known as Digital First Media, which is backed by a hedge fund, holds 7.5% of Gannett’s stock and has been rebuffed repeatedly by the company when it has approached it about a sale. Digital First plans to offer to buy Gannett for $12 per share, nearly a quarter above its closing share price Friday of $9.75.
Gannett, owner of USA Today and the nation’s largest newspaper chain, has instructed its head-hunting firm to look for candidates outside the newspaper industry as it searches for a new CEO. The incumbent, Robert Dickey, 61, announced last month that he will step down in mid-May.
Gannett veteran Maribel Perez Wadsworth is the new publisher of USA Today. She currently is president of the USA Today Network, which includes USA Today as well as 109 other media brands across the country. She takes the reins as incumbent publisher John Zidich retires.
Gannett, parent of USA Today, has hired a headhunting firm to search for a new chief digital officer — but the search so far has been a slog,
Asset purchase agreement drafts have passed between the two companies and a deal may come as soon as today. Tronc’s board of directors held a meeting last Thursday and its lawyers have been at work on the deal since, with a likely price of $18.50 to $19 a share.
The AP, Gannett and Vice are suing the FBI to learn how the government hacked an iPhone in its San Bernardino massacre investigation, specifically who it turned to for the solution and how much it spent. Eric Tucker reports on the lawsuit looking to get to the bottom of the “mysterious transaction.”
Gannett Co. has invested an undisclosed amount in the aggregator with a view to helping itself reach more readers with its USA Today Network while at the same time giving Digg more original content to work with. The move adds to Gannett’s growing portfolio of digital investments, and branded content production will also come of the partnership.
Looks like the third time may be a charm, as Gannett Co.’s latest offer for Tronc has solicited a counteroffer from the former Tribune Publishing. Tronc’s board met last Thursday in Chicago to discuss the counteroffer, but it isn’t talking about the latest moves publicly, Gannett’s most recent offer came in the mid $18-a-share range during an in-person L.A. meeting.
Gannett Co. is offering to buy Tribune Publishing in a cash sale for $12.25 a share, the company said Monday. The sale is valued at $815 million, including Tribune’s $390 million of debt.
The broadcasting and digital arm, now called Tegna Inc., will run the company’s television stations and websites such as CareerBuilder. It will also include Cars.com. Tegna starts trading on the New York Stock Exchange today under the “TGNA” ticker symbol.
New corporate senior leadership teams announced for each company effective upon completion of spinoff.
Ken Doctor: “Gannett CEO Gracia Martore and her investor relations people have been busy priming the sales pump of their new broadcast-digital company for several months. Now they’ve got a name of sorts to put on the new company — after its divestiture of its financially woeful publishing division — that’s among the top three in regional broadcasters, with a strong digital classifieds portfolio.”
Once it separates from its publishing assets, the broadcast and digital company will be known as Tegna and trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol TGNA.