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Gannett makes $815M bid for Tribune Publishing

April 25, 2016
Gannett Co. Inc., publisher of USA Today and the Indianapolis Star, has made an unsolicited bid for Tribune Publishing Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, in a deal valued at $815 million.
 
McLean, Virginia-based Gannett offered $12.25 in cash per Tribune share, a 63 percent premium to Tribune’s closing price on April 22, according to a statement Monday.
 
The company first made an approach for Chicago-based Tribune on April 12, and was refused, the company said.

For the owners of daily newspapers, buying competitors and slashing costs has become a way to buy time while figuring out how to make more money online. That was the logic behind the recent failed attempt by Tribune to buy two Southern California newspapers.
 
Last year, the industry saw the most deals for the largest amount of money since the 2008 financial crisis, with 70 daily newspapers being sold for a combined $827 million, according to mergers-and-acquisitions adviser Dirks Van Essen & Murray.

Gannett Co. bought 15 dailies, including the Evansville Courier & Press; Tribune snapped up the San Diego Union-Tribune; and Warren Buffett’s newspaper chain acquired the Free Lance–Star in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Buying Tribune would give Gannett 11 more newspapers, including the Orlando Sentinel, The Baltimore Sun and the Hartford Courant.

The offer comes after a shake-up at Tribune.

Last month, the Chicago-based company announced a reorganization that named each of its newspapers' editors as dual editors-in-chief and publishers. In February, Tribune named Justin Dearborn as its new CEO, replacing Jack Griffin less than two years after he joined the business. The changes came months after Tribune received a more than $44 million cash infusion from a firm controlled by Chicago investor Michael Ferro. Gannett said Monday that CEO Robert Dickey talked about a possible deal with both Ferro and Dearborn.
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