Heath Freeman, the boss of private equity firm Alden Global Capital, “is throwing a wrench into the mega-merger between Gatehouse Media and USA Today owner Gannett,” reports the New York Post.
The NY Post’s post stated that in a “bombshell disclosure Friday, it was revealed that MNG Enterprises, the newspaper group Alden controls, snapped up 9.4% of the stock of New Media Investment Group, which is poised to acquire Gannett. Shareholders can vote on the merger.
“The SEC filing said MNG may vote down or campaign against the plans to create the largest newspaper publisher in the country. New Media’s Gatehouse Media is the nation’s second-largest newspaper owner behind Gannett.
“And more trouble is brewing. One well-placed source told The Post that Tribune Publishing is also considering entering the fray with a $10-a-share cash bid for Gannett. Tribune would do it only if Gannett’s stock stays under $10 a share, where it has fallen this week on the merger news.
“Freeman’s potential opposition to the deal is ironic considering that his MNG Enterprises was thwarted in its hostile bid for Gannett earlier this year — in part because shareholders were skeptical of Alden’s ability to finance the deal.
“Alden has also been branded a destroyer of local papers because of the deep cuts it made in papers from the Denver Post to the Boston Herald.”