GM Today: Cost-slasher Digital First makes run at Gannett

Digital First Media, the hedge fund-controlled firm known for extreme cost-cutting in newsrooms from the Philadelphia suburbs to California, is making a $1.4-billion hostile bid for Gannett Co., the publisher of more than 100 daily newspapers, including USA Today and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In an open letter to the Gannett board, the firm proposed on Monday to acquire the company for $12 a share, or 41 percent of the company’s closing stock price on Dec. 31, and called for the company to halt investments into digital news properties. Gannett shares were trading at around $11.70, up nearly 20 percent, by mid-day Monday.

The firm making the offer is MNG Enterprises, better known as Digital First and part of New York hedge fund Alden Global Capital LLC. A deal, if it goes through, would make Digital First the largest publisher of newspapers in the country.

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