08 May 2000

Gannett Co, the Arlington, Virginia-based media giant that operates seventy-four newspapers, including USA Today and 22 television stations, confirmed it has made a revised formal bid to acquire British regional newspaper group News Communications & Media for $702 million, or $28.44 a share.

The new bid, in which Gannet would assume or retire Newscom's debt, is higher than its undisclosed (and rejected) earlier offer last December. Gannett claims it now has the approval of Newscom's board and 15.65% of the shareholders – although acceptance would be required from 90% of Newscom holders, according to a Gannett spokeswoman.

Two UK companies, Johnston Press and Trinity Mirror, are also competing for Newscom’s hand but Gannett is confident its deal won’t fall at the last hurdle. "We're assuming that everything is going to be OK", said the spoke.

This is not Gannet’s first shopping trip to the UK: last June it acquired another British regional newspaper group Newsquest for $1.5 billion.

Southampton-based. Newscom, with 99 titles including four dailies, is the UK’s eighth-largest newspaper group. In the fiscal to June 26 1999, it posted revenue of £139.1 million ($228.5 million) and operating income of £24.1 million.

Sourced from: Wall Street Journal