Gannett Co. sent a letter April 8 to its shareholders urging that they say no to a hedge fund-owned company's effort to take over its board, USA Today reported.

USA Today owner Gannett accused MNG Enterprises, owned by New York-based hedge fund Alden Global Capital, of “attempting to promote its self-serving agenda to take control of Gannett” by nominating six directors to the company's board.

Gannett urged shareholders to re-elect all members of its board who have said they’ll still serve on the board.

“Fighting for Gannett Board seats was not our choice,” said a statement from MNG. “We had even offered to stand down from this proxy fight if the Board would engage with us. But they refused. It remains our strong preference to engage cooperatively with Gannett’s Board, and we are prepared to meet immediately to conduct our confirmatory diligence and work toward a mutually acceptable definitive agreement.”

On Jan. 14, MNG, known as Digital First Media, made an unsolicited bid to buy Gannett for $12 a share. Gannett said no to the bid and raised doubts about MNG’s plan to finance it. In its April 8 letter, Gannett said it believed the deal would be too debt-ridden.

“We have spoken with many Gannett shareholders, and we have heard their desire for Gannett to engage with us regarding our compelling” proposal, the statement from MNG said.

Before pursuing an acquisition of Gannett, MNG had proposed to Gannett officials that Gannett should buy MNG's newspapers, according to a regulatory filing by Gannett, USA Today said. 

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