Tribune Chairman Michael Ferro: ‘We’re Not for Sale’

L.A. Times’ parent company will attempt to use digital assets to increase its value

Michael Ferro

Tribune Publishing chairman Michael Ferro has said his newspaper empire is “not for sale” after rejecting Gannett’s $815 million takeover bid.

“There’s no price,” Ferro told the Chicago Tribune. “We’re not for sale. We’ll always listen to everybody but we’re not for sale.”

Tribune owns many prominent papers, including the L.A. Times and Chicago Tribune. Ferro feels that his new plans for leveraging digital assets of the company will make Gannett’s $815 million offer seem light down the road.

However, the Chicago Tribune reports that prominent shareholders want to negotiate with Gannett, in search of a higher offer. Tribune publishing stock closed at $11.03 on Thursday and shareholders are reportedly hoping to sell for as much as $18 per share.

“We have content, we have users,” Ferro said. “We just need to get paid for it. Facebook, Google and Apple know how to do that. We have to use the same technologies, the same services, the same math and science and (artificial intelligence). Nobody is doing that well right now in our space.”

Gannett publicly offered $815 million, or $12.25 per share, to purchase the company last month in an unsolicited takeover that was rejected.

On Wednesday, Tribune Publishing reported a $6.5 million loss in advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2016, compared to a $2.5 million net profit for the same period a year ago. Revenue was flat for the period ending March 27 at $398.2 million, compared to $398.3 million a year ago.

Tribune’s 2016 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which is set for June 2.