Gannett has yet to complete the split of the company in two, spinning off publishing from television and digital, but the prospect already has a famous corporate shark nibbling.
Carl Icahn, who controls 6.6 percent of Gannett stock asked in a letter Wednesday for two seats on the board.
He also expressed particular concern that each of the new companies be open to takeover bids and not adopt any of the defenses management can use to fend off unwelcome offers.
His letter to Gannett CEO Gracia Martore charges that the capital structure and plans for the publishing unit have been badly communicated to the market, resulting in an 8 percent decline in Gannett stock since plans to divide the company were announced in August.
Icahn further wrote:
We have spoken with many large Gannett shareholders since we first announced our position. Everyone seemed please by the company’s spin-off announcement, but many expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s governance profile and poor communication with the market.