Gannett Co. has gotten an offer to buy the company from MNG Enterprises, known as Digital First Media, USA Today reports.
Digital First Media offered to purchase USA Today owner Gannett for $12 a share in an unsolicited offer, the paper reports.
“Consistent with its fiduciary duties and in consultation with its financial and legal advisors, the Gannett board of directors will carefully review the proposal received to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interest of the company and Gannett shareholders,” the company said in a statement.
“As promised, we will keep you informed as new information is available, but we are still business as usual,” said Gannett CEO Robert J. Dickey in an email to employees Monday.
Hedge fund Alden Global Capital is the majority owner in Digital First. Among its properties are The Denver Post, the Los Angeles Daily News and the Boston Herald.
“Frankly, the team leading Gannett has not demonstrated that it’s capable of effectively running this enterprise as a public company,” said a Digital First letter to Gannett’s board, signed by MNG chairman Joseph Fuchs. The letter said that Digital First holds a 7.5 percent ownership stake.
On Dec. 5, Gannett President and CEO Robert J. Dickey told the company’s board of directors he was retiring. He’s agreed to stay on until May 7, 2019, but may leave earlier if a successor is named, the company said.
Gannett’s board hired Zurich-based Egon Zehnder to evaluate replacement candidates, the company said.
The headhunters may go outside the newspaper industry, perhaps to digital or e-commerce, according to the New York Post.