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Media General shareholder weighs in on potential Nexstar deal

IFA 2015 Consumer Electronics And Appliances Trade FairIFA 2015 Consumer Electronics And Appliances Trade Fair

In a letter posted on PR Newswire addressed to Media General’s Chairman, CEO, and Board of Directors, Starboard Value LP expressed its concerns about the company’s stance regarding certain offers currently on the table — one is a merger deal with Meredith Corp. and the other an acquisition by Nexstar Broadcasting.

Starboard, an investment management firm, owns 4.5% of Media General’s shares, making it one of the company’s largest shareholders. The firm began its letter by noting that it tends to approach investments by actively engaging with the company’s management and board of directors.

It describes the Meredith deal as “unconventional” and seemingly “contrary to the best interests of [Media General’s] shareholders.” Other investors illustrated similar views as the company’s stock price dropped 10.5% in the five trading days after it announced the deal.

Media General left the newspaper business back in 2012 because it was not profitable for them. The company told its shareholders that it would take a step back from publishing and focus more on broadcasting. 66% of Meredith’s revenue comes for its publishing business, so a deal with that company would be a step in the wrong direction for Media General.

A combination of Nexstar and Media General, on the other hand, would create one of the largest broadcasting networks in the nation, and Starboard believes that a deal between the two would be “highly strategic.”

The letter continues:

At this point, it is incumbent upon the Board to negotiate the best possible transaction for Media General, whether that be a transaction with Nexstar or a revised transaction whereby Meredith would acquire Media General and Media General shareholders would receive a substantial premium from Meredith that is clearly superior to the current proposal from Nexstar.

Towards the end of the letter, Starboard casually mentions that the shareholders have the right to elect board representatives each year, and it will not hesitate to nominate alternatives who would better represent their interests.