May 2, 2016

On Monday, Gannett announced it was seeking “withhold” votes at Tribune Publishing Co.’s annual meeting on June 2.

‘We intend to give Tribune stockholders the opportunity to send a clear message to the Tribune Board that its lack of engagement with our Board and management team regarding our highly compelling, premium offer for $12.25 per share in cash is unacceptable,’ said Gannett CEO, Robert Dickey. ‘We remain ready to work constructively with the Tribune Board and management to negotiate a definitive merger agreement and quickly complete a transaction that would provide significant value to both companies’ stakeholders.’

Anne Steele wrote about the move for The Wall Street Journal, noting that “getting Tribune Publishing shareholders to withhold director votes is the only way that Gannett can influence this year’s proxy vote. Gannett made its offer public because it was frustrated at Tribune’s lack of response.”

Last week, Gannett made public that it offered to buy Tribune for $815 million. Tribune reported it was surprised by the offer. This led to a back-and-forth snit. Gannett CEO Robert Dickey told Poynter last week that he had no plans to rescind the offer.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Tribune Co. would hold the shareholder meeting as planned.

‘This latest ploy to encourage Tribune Publishing shareholders to withhold their votes at the 2016 annual meeting is a distraction from the real issue, which is whether the Gannett proposal is credible,’ Tribune said.

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Kristen Hare covers the people and business of local news and is the editor of Locally at Poynter. She previously worked as a staff writer…
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