Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Gannett is offering to buy Tribune Publishing, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, for $815 million, including the assumption of $390 million in debt.

Gannett says the all-cash offer, which translates to $12.25 a share, represents a 63 percent premium over Friday’s $7.52 a share closing price, as well as a premium over the $8.50 share price at which Tribune recently issued common shares, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday.

Gannett said in a news release that the all-cash value of the transaction meant it could be completed quickly, and in a letter addressed to Tribune Publishing Chief Executive Justin Dearborn said it was “disappointed by the response” in a Friday letter from Dearborn regarding Gannett’s proposal.

Gannett noted that it first made overtures to Tribune Publishing’s board on April 12 and followed up several times in phone calls to Chairman Michael Ferro.

“We believe the financial and strategic logic of a combination of our two companies is clear,” Gannett said today in a letter to Dearborn from Robert Dickey, its president and CEO.

“The challenges for our industry in the digital age continue. Tribune has itself faced numerous challenges and leadership changes over the last few years. We believe Gannett is uniquely willing and able to propel Tribune into the position of strength that will allow its beloved and historic publications and other assets to survive and thrive in this challenging environment. By combining, we would create a company with the financial stability and flexibility equipped to preserve journalistic integrity, high standards and excellence for years to come. We would be able to both empower our journalists and facilitate the creation of exceptional content while delivering stockholder value.”

In an email to Tribune Publishing employees this morning, Dearborn said the company did not seek or encourage Gannett’s proposal and has not been trying to sell, the Tribune article reported.

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