Global: Gannett bids for Tribune in $US815m deal

US publisher Gannett has offered to buy Tribune Publishing, the owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, in a $US815 million deal that would bulk up its newspaper holdings in a period of industry transformation.

If Tribune accepts the offer, Gannett, publisher of USA Today, would emerge with a daily circulation of more than 7 million, according to data from the Alliance for Audited Media.

Tribune said in a statement that it was reviewing Gannett’s offer. “The board is committed to acting in the best interests of shareholders and will respond to Gannett as quickly as feasible,” Tribune said.

Gannett offered Tribune $US12.25 a share in cash, a 63 percent premium to its stock closing price on Friday. It would also assume $US390 million in Tribune debt, bringing the potential deal value to $US815 million.

The Washington Post reports that Gannett initially approached Tribune with an offer on April 12. Gannett president Robert Dickey said in letter to Tribune CEO Justin Dearborn that he “had been disappointed” by Tribune’s response and the company’s “continued refusal to begin constructive discussions with us”.

The tone of the letter suggests that cementing a deal might not be simple, but Tribune says it is still considering the Gannett takeover offer.

Independent subscribers double after print closure

ESI Media, the publisher of Britain’s The Independent, says the app that was launched as an alternative to the daily print version that was closed last month now has twice as many subscribers as the hard copy edition.

Digiday reports the Audit Bureau of Circulations puts The Independent print circulation at around 55,000, but this is for print and bulk subscriptions. The figure for print subscribers is thought to be much lower at, around 7,500.

The app is free to download, but then people must subscribe.  It features around 100 stories a day, across sections that had previously run in the paper like news, comments, business, sport and interactive puzzles. ESI managing director Zach Leonard told Digiday that it is seeing readers spend on average 40 minutes in the app across two sessions a day. In each session, readers view, on average, half of the 100 pages.

New York Times cuts 70 jobs

The New York Times Co has announced it will cut about 70 jobs as part of an effort to streamline its international operations.

Dow Jones reports that the newspaper publisher will redesign the international print edition and move certain editing and production operations from Paris to Hong Kong and New York.

The company estimated the changes will cost it about $US15 million, mostly from relocation and severance. Substantially all of those charges will be recognised in the second quarter.

Digital publisher launches into print

American digital media trade publisher Digiday has gone into print, with the launch of a new quarterly 60-page magazine, Pulse, devoted to the future of media.

The first issue examines the transformation of social media into publishing platforms and the ramifications for the industry.

In an introductory letter to readers, senior Digiday editor Lucia Moses says the rise of platform giants like Facebook offer unprecedented ability to reach new audiences, but content distribution and monetisation is often outside publishers’ control.

“It’s enough to make you want to crank up the printing presses,” she writes. “While Digiday is at its core a digital media company, we thought the printed format was ideal for exploring these critical issues in a thoughtful way.

“Pulse is our way of periodically checking the vital signs of the media industry.”

Digiday says only a limited number of print copies are available, but offers a download link to a digital replica version.

The next issue, scheduled for late June, focuses on the challenges and opportunities of the shift to programmatic ad buying.\

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