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Gannett Ups Offer for LA Times’ Parent Tronc (Report)

Tronc is expected to respond by the end of the week, according to The Wall Street Journal

Gannett Co. has increased its offer to purchase tronc, the brand formally known as Tribune Publishing, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the Journal said Gannett “privately sweetened” its bid for tronc and a response should come “by the end of the week.” The newspaper said further details of the offer weren’t available.

Gannett has been unsuccessfully trying to takeover tronc for months, starting with an unsolicited bid that was rejected in April. Gannett then upped its offer from $12.25 a share to $15 per share, but it was rejected again. Tronc owns a variety of newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times.

Last month, Politico’s Ken Doctor, who has been all over the Tribune-Gannett situation from day one, said tronc chairman Michael Ferro might finally be ready to accept Gannett’s takeover offer. Two shareholders claim that the board at tronc isn’t performing its legal, fiduciary responsibility by refusing to engage in sale talks.

Tronc reported second-quarter revenues of $405 million earlier this month, a 1.8 percent drop from the previous year — but it would have been an even steeper 5.9 percent drop were it not for the 2015 acquisition of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Ad revenue was also down by 4.4 percent.

The newly branded tronc, or Tribune Online Content, pools the company’s various media brands and leverages technology with the intent of delivering more personalized, interactive experiences to Tribune’s 60 million monthly users. The name tronc has been mocked throughout the industry and on social media since it was unveiled in June.