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Gannett Is Giving Up Its Bid for Newspaper Publisher Tronc

November 1, 2016

A copy of Los Angeles bearing an advertiA copy of Los Angeles bearing an adverti
The Los Angeles Times is one of the newspapers published by Tronc Inc.Photograph by Jewel SamadAFP/Getty Images

Gannett, the publisher of USA Today, said on Tuesday it had abandoned plans to buy Tronc, the publisher of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.

Tronc, whose shares fell as much as 27% to $8.76 in early trading, said a deal was reached on a purchase price in mid-September but Gannett had informed the company that its financing had encountered “an unexpected delay.”

Bloomberg reported in early October that Gannett was offering $18.50 to $19 per share.

“Tronc remained a constructive partner to Gannett as it sought to complete its financing for the agreed upon purchase price, however, Gannett was unable to do so and terminated discussions,” the company said.

Gannett’s shares rose as much as 5.4% to $8.19.

Gannett, the biggest U.S. newspaper publisher by circulation, made an unsolicited $12.25 per share takeover offer for Tronc—formerly Tribune Publishing— in April, valuing the company at about $815 million. It raised the offer a month later to $15 per share, which was also rejected.

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The abandonment of the bid comes as the newspaper industry consolidates in the face of declining circulation, rising costs, shrinking advertising revenue and a shift to digital content.

Up to Monday’s close, Gannett’s shares had lost about 50% of their value since it made its first offer for Tronc on April 25. Tronc’s shares had gained 60%.

Tronc’s shares were down 19.8% at $9.65 in early trading, while Gannett’s were up 1.9% at $7.92.