Gannett will lay off 2 percent of its workforce, with cuts coming across the organization, including its corporate headquarters, president and CEO Bob Dickey told employees in a memo on Monday.
Dickey wrote in the memo, obtained by Politico, that the decision is “required” and not taken lightly. Action will be completed by the end of the week and affected employees will be notified by the end of the day on Tuesday. The headcount reduction should impact more than 350 employees.
Meanwhile, Politico’s Ken Doctor reports that Gannett’s long-awaited takeover of Tronc could become official in the near future, as Gannett’s third-quarter earnings call is scheduled for Oct. 27 and Doctor notes that financial analysts will expect CEO Bob Dickey to “answer the Tronc question with a yes or no.”
Gannett layoffs: "We made the decision to reduce about 2% of our workforce across the organization" pic.twitter.com/TgUrPeNlsc
— Joe Pompeo (@joepompeo) October 24, 2016
Gannett did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
“We will all feel the loss of great colleagues,” Dickey wrote. “Each and every one of you has my deep gratitude for your many contributions to the success of our company. Actions like these are difficult, but I remain steadfastly committed to reinvesting in our employees and the capabilities required to sustain and grow our company so that we may continue to serve our customers with excellence.”
Dickey continued: “Over the next 18 months, we will continue to build our scale and invest in important digital capabilities and experiences.”
“The end-of-year timing of the cuts is an age-old method by Gannett of clearing the books for a more lucrative balance sheet in the coming year,” a former Gannett insider told Doctor. “Gannett, for years, has made a conservative analysis of the coming year and often cut in the fourth quarter rather than the first, as some media companies do.”
Purchasing Tronc would expand Gannett’s already sizable portfolio to include The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Orlando Sentinel, The Sun-Sentinel of South Florida, The Baltimore Sun, The Morning Call of Eastern Pennsylvania, The Hartford Courant and The San Diego Union-Tribune.
In early August, the Wall Street Journal reported that Gannett increased its offer to purchase Tronc after months of unsolicited offers were rejected by Tronc chairman Michael Ferro. Gannett’s original offer of $12.25 a share was increased to $15 per share, but Tronc rejected both efforts. The final deal is expected to be priced in the $18.50-$19 range, according to Doctor.