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Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson). Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Bill Pascrell opposes Gannett sale

New Jersey congressman says ‘healthy democracy rests on a vibrant news media’

By David Wildstein, February 14 2019 12:42 pm

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) says he opposes the sale of the Gannett newspaper chain to a Wall Street hedge fund.

“The last thing we need is the decimation of more quality media outlets. Across America, newspapers have been shuttered or swallowed whole, slowly starving our communities of information about their towns and neighbors,” said Pascrell.  “This problem is especially acute in my state New Jersey. I have no doubt that our inability to obtain incisive journalism is a driving cause of our growing national divisions.”

Alden Global Capital is the majority shareholder of MNG Enterprises — also known as Digital First Media – which launched a $1.4 billion takeover bid of Gannett in January.  Gannett owns eight daily newspapers in New Jersey, including The (Bergen) Record and the Herald News in Pascrell’s congressional district.

“Letting a predatory hedge fund take over one of America’s largest, most trusted news companies would take one more wrecking ball to our independent press,” Pascrell said. “This firm and some other hedge funds have made a practice of looting storied businesses and firing tens of thousands of employees.”

The Gannett board rejected Digital First Media’s offer, saying their $12-per-share bid undervalues their company.

Digital First says Gannett has lost a large portion of its value and that their board lacks a credible plan to restore that value and instead is blocking a premium deal for shareholders.

“In the same way an otter cracks open a clam before discarding the shell, Alden Capital is interested not in journalism, but in selling the land these newspapers are built on to maximize profits for Wall Street executives,” said Pascrell.  “Its bid should be rejected. A healthy democracy rests on a vibrant news media. I stand with the journalists and communities threatened by this and other similar takeover bids.”

Gannett owns a national chain of newspapers, including the Asbury Park Press, the Courier News, the Courier-Post, the Home News Tribune, the Daily Record, the Daily Journal, and the Herald News.

None of the New Jersey-based Gannett newspapers have covered the takeover bid, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on January 13.

Digital First owns the Trentonian, as well as the Denver Post, the Boston Herald and more than 200 other publications.

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One thought on “Bill Pascrell opposes Gannett sale

  1. Gannett as a quality media outlet?!? I think not. The argument against the takeover is that MNG will gut the business and fire employees. Isn’t that what Gannett did with the North Jersey Media Group? Quality? Why is Bergen County’s “Local” section highlighting news in south Jersey? Why do I read the same article three times on a week? Very little left that is newsworthy and most times the news is overpowered by opinion… Free press?!? Not in any sense of the word with Gannett.

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