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Why Gannett Fell 12% in June

By Anders Bylund – Jul 9, 2016 at 11:39AM

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The newspaper maven's proposed takeover of a smaller rival is not going smoothly at all.

Image source: Getty Images.

What: Shares of newspaper publisher Gannett Co. (GCI) fell 11.6% in June 2016, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The company's lengthy battle to acquire rival tronc (NASDAQ: TRNC) saw no progress and plenty of resistance last month.

So what: Gannett has raised its bid for Tronc (formerly known as Tribune Publishing) several times, including an all-cash offer worth $475 million in the first week of June. The target company's shares jumped 18% higher on the news, but Tronc's board and management continue to resist the takeover attempt.

In the meantime, Gannett has spent some of its buyout cash on a bucket of smaller targets such as marketing specialist ReachLocal and newspaper printer North Jersey Media Group.

The next milestone for the Tronc buyout comes in August, when the target company is posting its second-quarter results. The cash offer will stand until then, and Gannett is encouraging Tronc's leadership to sit down for a serious merger conversation.

Now what: Since Gannett's buyout interest was made public in late April, Tronc's shares have soared 86% higher. Simply accepting the latest cash offer would add another 20% to that total gain.

On the other hand, Gannett approached Tronc in a weak moment, with its share prices swooning near multiyear lows. Today, including all of the recent Gannett-powered gains, Tronc investors are still looking back at a 13% share price drop over the last 52 weeks. At the same time, Gannett shares rose 11% higher.

With earnings reports on the horizon, August looks like another volatile month for these two stocks. Stay tuned.

Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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