Well, why the interest then in the struggling Tribune Publishing Co.? America’s biggest newspaper group, Gannett Co. has raised its bid for Tribune Publishing Co. to US$15 cash a share from US$12.25 in an attempt to force the board of its target to change its mind and stop opposing the deal. But Tribune management continues to resist the offer. The higher offer lifted the total value of the new offer to US$864 million, from US$815 million, including the assumption of about US$385 million of debt, as well as other liabilities. That will be a big bite, even for Gannett, which has a market value of US$1.8 billion. The news sent shares of Tribune up 22% overnight. Tribune owns newspaper titles including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. Tribune’s second biggest shareholder, Oaktree Capital, has urged the company to accept the Gannett bid.

Meanwhile in Italy, there’s now a takeover battle for Italy’s RCS MediaGroup, owner of national newspaper of record Corriere della Sera. A group of shareholders led by private equity investor Andrea Bonomi, luxury tycoon Diego Della Valle, Pirelli, insurer UnipolSai and Milanese investment bank Mediobanca launched a counter bid on Monday offering 70 euro cents a share for the loss-making group. The new offer follows one made last month for RCS, which also owns sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, from media magnate Urbano Cairo, a former friend of Silvio Berlusconi. The takeover battle for ownership of Italy’s best-known national newspaper comes after a rival national newspaper La Republica earlier this year agreed a merger with Turin-based title La Stampa.

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Peter Fray
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