Gannett climbs on report of merger talks with Gatehouse Media

PRINT MERGERS: Gannet has reportedly been in merger talks with GateHouse Media. / PBN FILE PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD
PRINT MERGERS: Gannet has reportedly been in merger talks with GateHouse Media. / PBN FILE PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD

NEW YORK – Gannett Co., the publisher that owns USA Today, climbed as much as 9.3% on a report that it held merger talks with Gatehouse Media, a deal that would unite the two largest newspaper chains in the United States.

Gahouse Media, owned by New Media Investment Group Inc., owns and operates several local publications through GateHouse Media, including the Providence Journal, Newport Daily News, Fall River Herald News, Taunton Daily Gazette and the New Bedford Standard-Times.

Gannett also has discussed deals with Tribune Publishing Co. and McClatchy Co., the Wall Street Journal said, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Gannett and Gatehouse didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from Bloomberg News.

Newspapers giants, plagued by diminishing advertising and competition from digital upstarts, are increasingly looking for ways to team up. But Gannett hasn’t welcomed all comers: It spurned a hostile $1.36 billion offer from MNG Enterprises Inc. in January.

- Advertisement -

MNG – majority-owned by the hedge fund Alden Global – also embarked on a failed campaign to get representation on Gannett’s board. At its annual meeting this month, Gannett shareholders rejected the three directors proposed by MNG.

Employees at Gannett feared that an MNG takeover would bring severe job cuts to the struggling company. Gannett has suffered its own layoffs, but the cuts haven’t gone as deep as those made at MNG, owner of the Denver Post, St. Paul Pioneer Press and other daily newspapers.

Shares of Gannett rose as high as $8.34 on Thursday, but drifting back down to $7.81, a gain of 2.4%. New Media Investment Group Inc. climbed as much as 5%.

Before Thursday’s rally, Gannett was down 11% this year.

Nick Turner and Olga Kharif are reporters for Bloomberg News.

No posts to display