Gannett raises its offer for Tribune Publishing
McLean-based Gannett Co. Inc. has increased its all-cash offer to acquire Chicago-based Tribune Publishing Co., from $12.25 to $15 a share.
The revised offer raises the total value of the proposed deal from $814 million to $864 million. That total includes assumption of Tribune’s outstanding debt, which totaled $385 million on March 27.
“Our increased offer demonstrates our commitment to engaging in serious and meaningful negotiations with the Tribune board to reach a mutually agreeable transaction where Gannett acquires all of Tribune,” John Jeffry Louis, Gannett’s chairman, said in a statement. “It is evident from our discussions with Tribune shareholders that there is overwhelming support for the companies to engage immediately regarding our proposed transaction.”
Gannett said the new unsolicited offer represents a 99 percent premium over Tribune’s closing prices of $7.52 on April 22. That was the last trading day before Gannett announced its initial offer to acquire Tribune.
Gannett said its decision to raise its offer was the result of analysis of Tribune information revealed on May 5 in financial statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The information concerned debt, cash balance and pension liabilities.
The Virginia-based company is urging Tribune shareholders to withhold their votes for eight nominees for the Tribune board. Gannett says the move allows shareholders to send a message the board encouraging it to negotiate on a deal.
Gannett owns USA Today and 107 local news properties. Chicago-based Tribune’s properties include the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and The Daily Press in Newport News.