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Gannett, which owns Journal Sentinel, rejects takeover bid by Digital First Media

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Posted at 8:52 AM, Feb 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-04 09:52:15-05

(CNN) — Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper chain and the publisher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and USA Today, rejected a takeover bid by MNG Enterprises, the hedge fund-owned company also known as Digital First Media, on Monday.

The decision by Gannett's board of directors was unanimous.

"After careful review and consideration, conducted in consultation with its financial and legal advisors, the Gannett board concluded that MNG's unsolicited proposal undervalues Gannett and is not in the best interests of Gannett and its shareholders," Gannett said in a statement. "In addition, Gannett does not believe MNG's proposal is credible."

MNG, which is mostly owned by the New York hedge fund Alden Global Capital, made its unsolicited offer to buy Gannett last month for $12 a share, arguing that the struggling newspaper chain was in need of new ownership. Gannett has seen its value plunge by 40 percent over the last two years, and the company went through another round of painful layoffs last month at newspapers across the country.

But on Monday, Gannett said its board remains "confident that Gannett has significant value creation potential."

MNG has earned a reputation for imposing deep cuts at its newspapers — even in an era defined by painful newsroom layoffs — and Gannett journalists had been alarmed by the announcement of the takeover bid.