Digital First plans bid for ‘USA Today’

THE Wall Street Journal is reporting that MNG Enterprises, better known as Digital First Media, intends to push USA Today publisher Gannett Co to offer itself for sale.

The newspaper, citing “people familiar with the matter,” reported yesterday that MNG, which is backed by a hedge fund, holds 7.5 per cent of Gannett’s stock and has been rebuffed repeatedly by the company when it has approached it about a sale.

There was no immediate response to emailed inquiries to the two companies before office hours yesterday.

Digital First owns about 200 newspapers and other publications. It has a reputation for cost-cutting.

Gannett, based in McClean, Virginia, owns dozens of newspapers including the Record in New Jersey and the Arizona Republic in addition to USA Today.

The Wall Street Journal report said Digital First plans to offer to buy Gannett for USD12 per share, nearly a quarter above its closing share price Friday of USD9.75. Gannett’s shares have rebounded after a rough spell in 2018.

Digital First owns about 200 newspapers and other publications including the Denver Post and Boston Morning Herald. It has a reputation for stringent, painful cost-cutting. Its biggest shareholder is Alden Global Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that mainly invests in distressed companies, the report said. – AP