Gannett Co. Inc. is continuing its campaign to win over shareholders in its push to acquire Tribune Publishing Co., reiterating today a plan to solicit shareholders after a Thursday meeting in which both sides remained locked in disagreement on a possible sale.
Executives from both companies had been in communication with one another in more recent days with Gannett chairman John Jeffry Louis, Gannett chief executive officer Robert Dickey, Tribune Publishing chairman Michael Ferro and Tribune ceo Justin Dearborn holding a meeting in Chicago on Thursday, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing today. But there is little development to show for the efforts.
“No meaningful progress was made to discuss the terms of the offer or a process for going forward,” the filing said.
Gannett last month made a go for Tribune, offering $815 million, or $12.25 a share, but Tribune’s board rejected the offer on the basis that it undervalued the company in comparison to industry peers and stressed the potential it has in growing certain franchises such as the Los Angeles Times. Tribune also owns the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, SunSentinel and the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Tribune’s board earlier this month adopted a shareholder rights plan in a bid to thwart a Gannett takeover, with the company defending the poison pill on the basis of what it said was “Gannett’s approach and continued hostility.”
Gannett, which owns USA Today, reiterated today its aim to solicit shareholders and urge them to submit “withhold” votes at the upcoming Tribune annual meeting scheduled for June. 2.
“Gannett is committed to engaging in substantive discussions with Tribune regarding its $12.25 all-cash, premium offer,” the company said. “We look forward to Tribune’s board acting as responsible financial stewards in the best interests of its shareholders.”