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Report: Hedge Fund looks to buy Gannett

Media company has a history of drastic budget cuts

By David Wildstein, January 13 2019 8:38 pm

A media group with a history of purchasing struggling newspapers and cutting costs by dramatically reducing the number of journalists, is trying to buy the company that operates eight daily newspapers in New Jersey.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting tonight that MNG Enterprises, a major U.S. newspaper chain owner backed by a New York hedge-fund Alden Global Capital, is preparing to make an offer to purchase Gannett.

Gannett operates The (Bergen) Record, the Asbury Park Press, the Courier News, the Courier-Post, the Home News Tribune, the Daily Record, the Daily Journal, and the Herald News in New Jersey, as well as several weekly newspapers.

MNG Enterprises, also known as Digital First Media, is prepared to offer Gannett $12 a share.  Gannett stock closed on Friday at $9.75 a share, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“Digital First is known for its contentious history with the newspaper industry in part because of its penchant for slashing costs,” the WSJ wrote.

Digital First Media owns 56 daily newspapers, including the Denver Post and the Boston Herald. Cost-cutting at the Denver Post was so severe under DMG that the paper’s editorial page editor, Chuck Plunkett, wrote an editorial in his own paper calling on the owners to sell it; he resigned under pressure a month later.

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