Gannett, owner of APP, Record papers, confirms $1.4B offer from MNG

Gannett, the newspaper chain that owns The Record and Asbury Park Press, among many others nationwide, confirmed Monday that it has received an unsolicited takeover bid from MNG Enterprises Inc., a newspaper chain that does business as Digital First Media.

Gannett, based in Virginia, is best known as the owner of USA Today. It owns eight dailies in New Jersey among scores of newspapers around the country. MNG, once known as Media News Group, owns major dailies including the Denver Post, San Jose Mercury News and others.

MNG is offering $12 per share in cash for Gannett, which had a closing price of $9.75 per share on Friday. Published reports placed the value of the deal at upward of $1.35 billion.

“Consistent with its fiduciary duties and in consultation with its financial and legal advisers, 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,” Gannett said in a statement.

MNG, based in Denver, already owns 7.5 percent of Gannett, according to its news release on the offer. It said one of its key focuses is as a consolidator of operations such as printing and information technology.

“We believe that a sale of the company presents the best path forward to maximize value for Gannett stockholders, rather than attempting in full view of the public markets to address its operational issues, find new leadership to pursue its unsuccessful strategic transformation and regain the trust of a skeptical investment community,” MNG said in a letter to Gannett that it released with its own statement.

Gannett’s papers in New Jersey are:

  • The Asbury Park Press and, based in Asbury Park;
  • The Record, in Bergen County;
  • The Courier News, in Bridgewater;
  • The Courier-Post, in Cherry Hill;
  • The Home News Tribune, in East Brunswick;
  • The Daily Record, in Morristown;
  • The Daily Journal, in Vineland;
  • The Herald News, in Woodland Park.