A notorious media chain known for buying up struggling local newspapers and decimating staff has made an offer for USA Today publisher Gannett. News of the offer sent Gannett’s shares 20 percent higher in premarket trading. MNG Enterprises, better known as Digital First Media, has quietly built a position in Gannett’s stock and is urging the publisher to review its strategic alternatives—including a potential sale. MNG offered $12 a share for Gannett on Monday, over Friday’s closing price of $9.75. Gannett has lost more than 40 percent of its value over the last two years. Digital First, which is owned by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, is known for its contentious history with the newspaper industry in part because of its penchant for drastically cutting costs—which drew headlines last year when it took over The Denver Post. In addition to publishing USA Today, one of the top-selling papers in the country, Gannett owns and operates more than 100 daily newspapers, such as the Arizona Republic, the Record in Northern New Jersey, and the Naples Daily News in Florida, and thousands of weeklies. MNG has made several offers to Gannett over the past few years, but has been rebuffed. It isn’t clear whether Gannett will be receptive now.
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