Tegna acquisition talks fall through
Talks to buy Gannett spinoff company broke off due to recent COVID-19 economic crisis.
As the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, Tysons-based Tegna announced that two offers to acquire the Gannett spinoff company have fallen through.
“TEGNA and its advisors engaged substantially with two of these parties and provided them extensive non-public due diligence information,” the company wrote in a statement over the weekend. “These two parties made their proposals shortly before the recent market dislocation due to the COVID-19 pandemic and both subsequently informed TEGNA that they were ceasing discussions.”
Tegna had received four unsolicited acquisition offers, three of which were reportedly worth about $8.5 billion apiece. The two leading offers reportedly were a joint proposal from investment firm The Najafi Cos. and religious broadcaster Trinity Broadcasting Network; and an offer from TV producer Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group. The other bidders were private equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc. and Gray Television Inc.
Noted activist investor fund Standard General, which holds 9.7% of Tegna’s stock, had encouraged the company to increase its share price, which declined 18% after the acquisitions failed. Standard General founding partner Soo Kim said the Tegna board issued “arbitrary deadlines and unnecessary preconditions,” which led to the failure of any potential deal.
Once part of McLean-based mass media giant Gannett Co. Inc., Tegna owns 62 television stations and four radio stations in 51 markets and its programming reaches 41.7 million television households.