FEBRUARY 4, 2019 — GANNETT REJECTS MNG (DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA) $1.36 BUYOUT
According to an Associated Press report …
“The publisher of USA Today and dozens of other newspapers said no to a hedge-fund backed media group with a reputation for slashing jobs, but the buyout fight may not be over. “
“Gannett said its board has unanimously rejected an unsolicited $1.36 billion buyout from MNG Enterprises , better known as Digital First Media. Digital First then said that it might nominate new Gannett board directors to consider its offer.
JANUARY 24, 2019 — GANNETT LAYOFFS ACCELERATE
It appears that the news of a hostile takeover of Gannett has accelerated Gannett’s headcount reduction. The exact numbers are unclear at this point in time, but expectations point to over 100 employees. Due to a disappointing last quarter, the layoffs would have occurred whether or not the company was facing a potential hostile takeover.
JANUARY 19, 2019 — DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA OFFERS $1.36 BILLION TO TAKE OVER THE USA TODAY NEWSPAPER OPERATION
“According to USA Today, Gannett Co., which owns USA TODAY and 109 other local media properties, has officially received an unsolicited proposal to acquire the company from media company MNG Enterprises, also known as Digital First Media.”
Digital First Media is proposing to buy Gannett for $12 a share, which would be a 23 percent premium above Friday's closing price of $9.75 a share. Digital First is majority owned by hedge fund Alden Global Capital.”
"Consistent with its fiduciary duties and in consultation with its financial and legal advisors, the Gannett board of directors will carefully review the proposal received to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interest of the company and Gannett shareholders," the company said in a statement.”
The handwriting is on the wall for USA Today employees should Digital First Media acquire the newspaper.
Denver, Colorado-based Digital First Media, a subsidiary of New York-based hedge fund Alden Global Capital, and owner of the Denver Post and nearly 100 other newspapers nationwide, has announced that it is laying off 107 employees at its Colorado Springs, Colorado call center and is outsourcing the work to BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) services provider New York-based GenPact. Retreating to core competencies in times of financial difficulty or reorganization efforts makes perfect sense, especially when an outsourcer can provide lower costs due to their own economies of scale and specialized functions.
Alden has a reputation for its ruthless cost cutting and willingness to sacrifice both journalists and back office support staff to reduce debt and meet financial objectives. While some, mostly impacted employees cite unwarranted behavior, others compare Alden to a surgeon cutting out malignant tissue to save the body. Either way, it is the employees that suffer in the long run.
There are no guarantees in life, or promises for a bright future. Just because something bad hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere ... are you now wondering, Am I Next?