The hedge fund-owned newspaper company that launched a hostile takeover bid to acquire Gannett Co. in January has reduced its stake in the company, which owns USA TODAY and more than 100 local media properties.
Alden Global Capital’s MNG Enterprises Inc. now owns 4.2% of Gannett, according to a document Gannett filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday. That ownership percentage is down from 7.5%.
The move comes less than a week after Gannett shareholders voted to rejected MNG’s three board nominees. MNG originally nominated six people to Gannett’s board, which would have given MNG control of the board.
MNG representatives did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.
In January, MNG made an unsolicited offer to acquire Gannett for $12 per share. Gannett rejected the bid as not credible and argued that MNG’s nominees had potential conflicts of interest.
MNG, also known as Digital First Media, owns about 200 publications, including newspapers such as The Denver Post, The Mercury News of San Jose, California, the Los Angeles Daily News and the Boston Herald. The company has also gained a reputation for deep cost cuts and extensive layoffs in newsrooms.
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After failing to secure seats on Gannett’s board last week, MNG gave no indication whether it would continue its campaign to acquire the company.
“This is a win for an entrenched Gannett Board that has been unwilling to address the current realities of the newspaper business, and sadly a loss for Gannett and its shareholders,” MNG said in a May 16 statement. “Gannett’s newspapers are critical local resources, and we hope that Gannett’s incumbent Board and Management shift course to embrace a modern approach to local news that will save newspapers and serve communities.”
Gannett’s stock closed at $7.85 a share on Wednesday but rose to $8 in after-hours trading.
Contributing: Nathan Bomey
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko