Tronc sale to Gannett could be imminent

michael-ferro-yt.jpgMichael Ferro.

News industry analyst Ken Doctor reports tonight that a deal for Gannett to acquire Tronc and the Los Angeles Times could be announced as soon as Monday, when the fiscal fourth quarter begins for businesses. The story is based on confidential sources and framed as only "likely" and not a clear done deal, but Doctor's story for Politico has a number of details about the possible deal.

The reported purchase price is $18.50 to $19 a share, only a slight rise from the $18 that Tronc chairman Michael Ferro rejected in August. The Tronc board met on the deal Thursday, Doctor writes. Gannett appears to have financing for the deal, he reports.

There also are at least two big potential sticking points, Doctor writes. Tronc shareholder Patrick Soon-Shiong reportedly opposes the sale, preferring LA-based ownership of his hometown Los Angeles Times and believing that Ferro promised him the company would not be sold after he invested. Also, Ferro may want a seat on the board of Gannett rather than leave the media spotlight, a feature of owning the LA Times that he appears to enjoy.

From Doctor's story:

Of course, given the many twists and turns in this process so far, further delays are certainly possible.

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