USA Today publisher Gannett and GateHouse Media have talked recently about joining forces, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. A merger of the two would pair the country’s two biggest newspaper groups.  

The Wall Street Journal also reported that Gannett has held talks with Tribune Publishing and McClatchy about possible deals.

USA Today also reported on talks. The companies named in the reports declined to confirm the reports.

Gannett recently fought off a takeover attempt by MNG Enterprises, owned by New York-based hedge fund Alden Global Capital. Gannett is expected to announce a permanent CEO soon after the recent retirement of CEO Robert Dickey, USA Today reports.

If Gannett and GateHouse merge, around one of every six dailies in the country would be owned by one company, Ken Doctor points out in his Newsonomics column for Nieman Lab. He uses the term megaclustering.

“If — a big if — this chip falls into place, then the Consolidation Games will move into a next round. Might then McClatchy and Tribune — having found little other companionship on the mating market and the bar closing soon — restart talks that failed in December? And what about Alden?” Doctor writes. 

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