Washington, DC – In a letter recently released, The NewsGuild-CWA and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters urged Gannett shareholders to reject the slate of directors nominated by vulture hedge fund Alden Global Capital.
Through its subsidiary MNG Enterprises, Alden made a hostile bid to buy Gannett (NYSE:GCI) in January 2019. The offer was rejected in February by the Gannett Board of Directors. Later in February, MNG Enterprises launched a fight for the Gannett board by nominating six candidates.
The NewsGuild-Teamster letter argues that the Alden-nominated directors are not independent and have a track record of destroying companies. Alden’s, as a controlling owner of Payless Holdings, will preside over the company’s liquidation and the loss of 16,000 jobs by May 2019. As an investor in the news industry through Digital First Media, it has slashed newsroom employment at twice the rate of other chains.
“Alden has shown its true stripes by what it has done to the DFM properties. The hedge fund is not interested in news but in asset-stripping only.” said NewsGuild President Bernie Lunzer.
“There is a lot at stake in the outcome of this proxy vote for Gannett shareholders and workers alike,” said George Tedeschi, President of the Graphic Communications Conference of the Teamsters. “We urge investors to vote the white ballot to protect the integrity of our business and the future of our company.” We urge voting for the Gannett-nominated slate of directors. The annual meeting of shareholders will be held May 16 in McLean, VA.
“With all the challenges facing our industry, we need a strong board of directors focused on the long-term health of Gannett, not the short term financial gains of a handful of hedge fund investors,” said Joe Molinero, Director of the Teamsters Newspaper Division.
For those investors who are concerned about the fate of journalism, MNG/Alden Global approach to managing companies has to be worrisome.