TEGNA Inc. issued a statement in response to Standard General LP's nomination of four candidates for election, including Soohyung Kim, the company's founding partner and chief investment officer, to TEGNA's board at the 2020 annual shareholders meeting.
TEGNA said it had "serious concerns" regarding the previous business and board service of Kim, and that the company reached the conclusion after a detailed assessment of his track record and current investments in the broadcast industry. The company also disagreed with claims that Kim was "stonewalled" by TEGNA regarding potential M&A opportunities and noted that he has not suggested any transactions to the company.
In an open letter to TEGNA shareholders, Kim had called for significant changes at the broadcaster, including placing a representative of Standard General, which owns about 9.7% of the outstanding shares of TEGNA, on the TEGNA board.
Kim argued that TEGNA shares consistently underperformed its closest local broadcasting peers because of questionable M&A strategy and excessive leverage. He also criticized TEGNA's apparent rebuff of a recent acquisition proposal at a "premium valuation" from a credible buyer.
TEGNA, meanwhile, said it remains open to hearing Kim's perspectives on the company's business as a major shareholder, and the TEGNA board will evaluate the other three Standard General nominees.
Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz is serving as legal counsel to TEGNA.