Gannett Co. is close to a deal to acquire the parent company of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other major dailies in a deal that values the company at $18-$19 a share, according to a report by Politico.
Politico reported late Sunday that the companies were closing in on an agreement. Gannett and Tronc scuffled publicly earlier this year over Gannett’s unsolicited takeover bid that started out in April at $12.25 a share, valuing Tronc at about $815 million.
A deal would bring the Los Angeles Times under the same roof as Gannett’s USA Today, Detroit Free Press and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, among other newspaper and digital assets.
Tronc was spun off in 2014 from Tribune Co., the Chicago-based company that now is focused on TV as Tribune Media (the name was changed from Tribune Publishing to Tronc in June). Tronc’s assets include the Baltimore Sun, San Diego Union-Tribune, Florida Sun-Sentinel and Hartford Courant.
Tronc chairman Michael Ferro had publicly blasted Gannett management for what he viewed as a low-ball offer and pressure tactics. He asserted in a May interview with the Chicago Tribune: “We’re not for sale.” But that stance reportedly drew the ire of Tronc shareholders including Oaktree Capital Management, which pressured Ferro to consider a deal, the Tribune reported in August.
Politico reported that Tronc’s board of directors met Thursday night to consider the latest offer from Gannett.