Gannett ends pursuit of Tronc acquisition

David Weissman
  • Gannett had been in discussions to acquire Tronc Inc. for months.
  • Gannett, which owns York Newspaper Co. and the York Daily Record, reduced its workforce 2 percent last week.

Gannett Co. has ended discussions to purchase Tronc Inc., according to a staff memo sent out by the company's CEO Tuesday morning.

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Gannett had been publicly pursuing Tronc, previously Tribune Publishing, for months. Tronc owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and The Baltimore Sun.

"While we have great respect for the tronc employees and properties, and while we believed that the acquisition would have provided an attractive opportunity to expand the USA Today Network quickly, in the end the terms were not acceptable," President and CEO Bob Dickey wrote in the company-wide email. "That said, we remain fully committed to our strategy of expanding our local footprint and building the country’s largest digital news network under the USA Today Network banner.

"But as I’ve said before, we will not make acquisitions unless they are accretive to shareholders and the terms make sense for the company."

Last Tuesday, Gannett, owner of York Newspaper Co. and the York Daily Record, announced it would reduce its workforce by 2 percent across the organization as it continues to build its scale and invest in "important digital capabilities and experiences" during the next 18 months.

The York Daily Record  has been publishing under a joint-operating agreement with The York Dispatch since 1990, when the York Daily Record sought protection under the federal Newspaper Preservation Act.

The agreement, valid through June 20, 2024, means the papers share business operations — such as circulation and printing — but maintain separate news operations and editorial voices.

On Thursday, Gannett reported a 10 percent year-over-year revenues increase, according to its third quarter results of operations.