Jackson Clarion Ledger, Hattiesburg American newspapers to be sold as company buys Gannett, USA Today network
Published 2:56 pm Monday, August 5, 2019
Two Mississippi newspapers will soon have new owners as Gannett Co. — publishers of The Clarion Ledger newspaper in Jackson and the Hattiesburg American newspaper — announced the company will be sold to New Media Investment Group.
New Media Investment Group Inc. (NYSE: NEWM) and Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) announced Monday afternoon that New Media and Gannett have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which New Media will acquire Gannett for a combination of cash and stock.
Under the terms of the Merger Agreement, shareholders of Gannett will receive $6.25 in cash and 0.5427 of a New Media share for each Gannett share they hold, representing total consideration of $12.06 per Gannett common share based on New Media’s closing stock price as of August 2, 2019, and a premium of approximately 18% to the five-day volume-weighted average price of Gannett shares as of that date. After the close of the transaction, Gannett shareholders will hold approximately 49.5% of the combined company and New Media shareholders will hold approximately 50.5%.
The Merger brings together the portfolios of two leading local newspaper companies, and includes USA TODAY, Gannett’s flagship brand, and its more than 160 brands in the U.K., which will significantly expand the existing USA TODAY NETWORK.
This combination will create a broad network of talented, experienced journalists poised to deliver unique and award-winning content for local communities and national audiences. The breadth and depth of each company’s digital offerings will make the combined company a leading digital media player. Additionally, the joining of New Media’s UpCurve and GateHouse Live businesses with Gannett’s ReachLocal and WordStream subsidiaries will provide multiple, diversified marketing and revenue solutions and position the combined company as a stronger partner for advertisers and small businesses (“SMBs”) in the markets served.
With strategically-aligned leadership and significant scale of operations, the Merger will accelerate the combined company’s digital transformation. The Merger also affords an opportunity to realize run-rate cost synergies of $275 – $300 million annually across the combined company in a judicious manner, while continuing to invest in newsrooms.
“We believe this transaction will create value for our shareholders, greater opportunities for our employees, and a stronger future for journalism. Gannett is an innovative, digitally-focused media and marketing solutions company with well-known brands worldwide. Uniting our talented employees and complementary portfolios will enable us to expand our comprehensive, hyperlocal coverage for consumers, deepen our product offering for local businesses, and accelerate our shift from print-centric to dynamic multimedia operations. We are honored to become a part of Gannett’s storied history and a steward of their strong media properties into the future. We are committed to delivering significant synergies in a thoughtful manner, consistent with our shared goals for the business,” said Michael Reed, New Media Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
“The Gannett Board unanimously determined that this combination with New Media is in the best interests of Gannett shareholders, customers, audiences, and employees, providing significant and immediate value, as well as the ability to benefit from the upside potential of the combined company,” said J. Jeffry Louis, Chairman of the Gannett Board of Directors. “We see numerous opportunities to leverage the combined company’s enhanced scale and financial strength to continue to drive growth in the digital future. Importantly, we have found in New Media a strong partner and cultural fit for Gannett as we continue delivering on a shared commitment to journalistic excellence for the communities we serve.”