Gannett Offers $815 Million for LA Times Owner Tribune Publishing

The USA Today owner is making his offer public after negotiations didn’t kick off

Last Updated: April 25, 2016 @ 8:04 AM

Gannett Co. has offered $815 million to purchase Tribune Publishing, which owns the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, among other print media properties.

In an open letter Monday to Tribune CEO Justin Dearborn, Gannett CEO Robert Dickey reiterated an offer made earlier this month for the media giant, Gannett’s own USA Today reported.

Ganett offered to pay $12.25 per share, a 63 percent premium to Tribune’s closing stock price last Friday. Gannett’s deal includes assuming $390 million of Tribune’s debt outstanding as of Dec. 31, 2015.

The offer price is about 5.6 times Tribune’s estimated 2016 earnings before interest, taxes and other items.

In addition to USA Today, Gannett owns more than 100 media properties throughout the country.

“We believe Tribune shares the new Gannett’s unwavering commitment to journalistic excellence and delivering superior content on all platforms,” Dickey said in a statement Monday.

“In this respect, the proposed combination of Gannett and Tribune would bring together two highly complementary organizations with a shared goal of providing trusted, premium content for the readers and communities we serve.”

Dickey told USA Today he has had several phone calls with Dearborn and Tribune’s non-executive chairman, Michael Ferro. When Tribune brass refused to begin formal negotiations, Dickey decided to take his offer public.

“What we’re hoping for is to sit down with Tribune’s board and work out a transaction. We’re confident that, with cooperation between the companies, we can complete due diligence in a very timely fashion and execute an agreement,” Dickey told USA Today.

The Tribune’s brand new management team is “reviewing the proposal,” “meeting frequently” and “evaluating its options,” according to CNNMoney.