Report: Tribune chairman won’t sell to Gannett — he’ll buy it

SHARE Report: Tribune chairman won’t sell to Gannett — he’ll buy it

Michael Ferro, chair of board of directors of Tribune Publishing | Getty images

Fighting off a takeover bid from Gannett Co., Tribune Publishing’s chairman reportedly has said privately that not only is he not interested in selling the company, but that he’s willing to buy his unwanted suitor.

Michael Ferro on Tuesday told a gathering of Los Angeles Times staffers that he was pondering a takeover bid of his own, Politico is reporting.

“I am going to bid on Gannett,” Ferro told the group, according to Politico. “I have lawyers working on it.”

Earlier this week, Gannett, owner of USA Today, boosted its takeover bid for Tribune Publishing Co. by about 22 percent. That came about a week after Tribune Publishing, which owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and other newspapers adopted a “poison pill” plan to thwart the unsolicited offer.

Gannett Co.’s higher bid was $15 per Tribune share, up from the $12.25 per share it previously offered. Gannett said that the total value of the revised offer is approximately $864 million, which includes the assumption of certain Tribune liabilities, such as about $385 million in outstanding debt.

Tribune at that time had confirmed that it received the revised offer and said that its board would thoroughly review the proposal.

Gannett Chairman John Jeffry Louis said in a company release that the McLean, Virginia, company was raising its offer to show its “commitment to engaging in serious and meaningful negotiations with the Tribune board to reach a mutually agreeable transaction where Gannett acquires all of Tribune.”

Gannett’s attempts to acquire Tribune come after a shake-up at the company. In February, Ferro gave Tribune a $44.4 million cash infusion through his company Merrick Media. Ferro was later named as non-executive chairman of the newspaper publisher. Weeks later, the company ousted its CEO and named Justin Dearborn to that key job.

Contributing: Associated Press

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