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Tribune Publishing Turns Down $815 Million Offer From Gannett

By Mae Rice in News on May 5, 2016 4:17PM

Tribune Publishing's board has unanimously rejected a bid from Gannett, owner of USA Today and assorted other media properties, to buy the Chicago-based media company for $815 million, Tribune Publishing announced Wednesday.

"Gannett’s opportunistic proposal understates the Company’s true value," Tribune Publishing's CEO, Justin Dearborn, said in a statement.

Tribune Publishing owns the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, among other outlets. Gannet Publishing's $815 million offer, Gannett noted when they initially released their unsolicited offering April, was more than 50 percent higher than Tribune Publishing's market value at the time.

However, according to Dearborn, “Tribune Publishing is in the early stages of a compelling transformation, with a well-defined strategic plan to... significantly accelerate our conversion of content to revenue through an enhanced digital strategy." The board remains open to "evaluating any credible proposal" that could benefit the company, Dearborn added.

Currently, Michael Ferro is the majority stakeholder in Tribune Publishing. He bought his portion of the company for $44.4 million in February, in a deal that gave him a controlling stake in both of Chicago's daily papers: the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.