May 16, 2019 – Alden Global Capital, the hedge fund known as “the destroyer of newspapers,” suffered a stinging defeat on Thursday when Gannett shareholders rejected its hostile takeover bid.
The NewsGuild-CWA, which called had called on Gannett shareholders to reject Alden’s take-over efforts, was thrilled with the news.
“This is not just a victory for Gannett,” said Bernie Lunzer, NewsGuild president. “It is a victory for workers at Gannett papers and for the readers they serve.”
Speaking at Gannett’s shareholders meeting, Lunzer said the union supported Gannett’s candidates for the company’s board of directors – despite differences on other issues – because of the need for “sustainable journalism,” which Alden undermines at every turn. Representatives of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the U.K.’s National Union of Journalists also attended the meeting.
In an April 11 letter to Gannett shareholders, the Guild and the Teamsters wrote, “We believe that hedge funds in general and Alden in particular have had a destructive impact on the news industry. They have slashed staff and sold real estate to extract cash from the news organizations without regard to the role news organizations play in communities.”
Alden owns a chain of nearly 200 publications, formerly known as DFM and now known as MediaNews Group or MNG. Gannett owns the largest newspaper chain in the U.S. and the second largest in the U.K.
Workers at Gannett and Alden-owned newspapers planned to wear T-shirts and post on social media on Thursday to call attention to the campaign to #SaveLocalNews. They marked World Press Freedom Day, May 3, with rallies in Denver and Detroit, the site of Gannett newspapers owned by Gannett.
Photo: News workers in Detroit suited up on the day of the vote.