In a filing with the SEC, MNG (MediaNews Group) says it intends to talk to Lee about “the recently announced acquisition of Berkshire Hathaway’s newspaper operations” and matters pertaining to Lee’s 2020 annual meeting.
The buy involved 3.4 million shares at $2.7173/share.
The news will undoubtedly generate speculation about future Alden moves in the industry, which could be significant. Tribune Publishing and McClatchy are among properties to watch.
In November, New York-based Alden became the biggest shareholder in Tribune Publishing. Tribune Publishing then added two Alden representatives to the company’s board, making it eight members. Alden is barred from boosting its stake in the company to more than 33 percent until the end of June. “Journalists are wary of Alden because of its cut-to-the-bone management strategy,” said a Jan. 26 story in The New York Times.
The piece focused on Chicago Tribune staffers’ attempts to get entities other than Alden to take over the paper.
Sacramento-based McClatchy, the second-biggest newspaper publisher in the country by circulation, skipped a $12 million debt-interest payment due Jan. 15. The company also missed a pension payment.
McClatchy has been in restructuring negotiations with lenders and bondholders as well as Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the U.S. government’s pension insurer, as it aims to stave off bankruptcy.
Denver-based MNG Enterprises, which also does business as Digital First Media, was recently in the news for its hostile takeover attempt to acquire USA Today parent Gannett. GateHouse parent New Media Investment Group completed a $1.2 billion cash-and-stock buy of Gannett, the companies announced Nov. 19.