Shares of Gannett (NYSE:GCI), a digitally focused media and marketing solutions company with brands that include USA Today, among others, are up 18% as of 11:25 a.m. EST after the company received an unsolicited buyout proposal.
MNG Enterprises, also known as Digital First Media, offered to buy Gannett for $12 per share, a 23% premium to Gannett's $9.75 Friday closing price. Prior to today's pop, Gannett's stock had shed roughly 41% of its value since going public, and MNG Enterprises noted it doesn't have faith in management. "With Gannett's CEO departing by May and its key digital executive leaving later this month, there's now an even greater leadership void," according to the MNG letter. "Frankly, the team leading Gannett has not demonstrated that it's capable of effectively running this enterprise as a public company."
This is normal procedure for MNG, which is known for buying struggling papers then slashing jobs and aggressively cutting costs. For Gannett investors, there's no action to take, and management will carefully review the offer and decide what's in shareholders' best interest. Today's 18% pop recovers some of the stock's long-term loss and provides investors an opportunity to get out of a company that's struggling to expand its top line as print advertising continues to be replaced by advertising on social media.