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MNG Enterprises offers to buy Gannett

MNG Enterprises Inc. has offered to acquire USA Today publisher Gannett Co. Inc. for $12 per share in cash, confirming an earlier report.

The offer price represents a 41% cash premium above Gannett's stock price as of Dec. 31, 2018, MNG said in a Jan. 14 news release.

MNG, also known as Digital First Media, said Gannett's stock price has declined since it was spun off from TEGNA Inc. in 2015. It also noted the decline of Gannett's core newspaper business, as well as the departures of Gannett President and CEO Robert Dickey and ReachLocal Inc. CEO Sharon Rowlands.

In a letter, MNG Chairman R. Joseph Fuchs urged Gannett's board to start the merger discussions. MNG is also calling on Gannett to hire an investment bank for a review of its strategic alternatives, including a potential sale.

Furthermore, MNG wants Gannett to halt its push into digital acquisitions, as well as to a create a "feasible, strategic and financial path" forward prior to hiring a new CEO.

MNG owns a 7.5% stake in Gannett through its managed investment account.

In a separate release, Gannett said its board would carefully review MNG's proposal to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interest of the company and Gannett shareholders.