The owner of the Los Angeles Times — and other major publications including the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, and Hartford Courant — rejected that unsolicited bid. Although the size of the new proposal is still unknown, Tronc is said to be preparing to respond by the end of this week.
Gannett wants to expand its USA Today Network, launched late last year. It encourages collaboration between all of the the company’s media properties, giving them a common branding platform.
It had hoped to pressure Tronc Chairman Michael Ferro into negotiating. It urged his company’s shareholders to register their support for a sale at its annual meeting on June 2 by withholding their votes for the nominated directors. They ended up with a majority of the votes cast, even though most independent owners withheld.
Since then Tronc’s share price appreciated 34.7%. Gannett’s fell 22.6% , especially after it disclosed disappointing Q2 results.
A few Tronc shareholders sued the company in Delaware, where it’s incorporated. Some allege that it failed to serve their interests by refusing to negotiate with Gannett. Others also challenge a stock sale shortly before the annual meeting to Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Nant Capital: He became the No. 2 investor after the company issued new stock and sold him 12.9% of the total shares for $70.5 million — equal to $15 a share.
A judge has given the plaintiffs to September 6 to submit a consolidated complaint. Tronc will then have 30 days to respond.