Per board approval, Gannett is finalizing the creation of two publicly traded companies: a broadcasting and digital company named TEGNA, which includes 46 TV stations, and the new Gannett, which retains the name Gannett Co., Inc. and includes its publishing properties and affiliated digital assets.
As part of the split, Larry Kramer, president/publisher of USA Today, is leaving the newspaper. He has been publisher since 2012. Kramer will join the board of the new Gannett company.
With the transaction, Gannett shareholders retain their Gannett shares (now TEGNA) and get one share of new stock for every two shares of Gannett stock they own as of June 22. The spinoff is subject to SEC regulations.
Gracia Martore, president and CEO of Gannett, will serve as president and CEO of TEGNA upon completion of the separation. Martore stated: “In just three weeks, we will create two industry leaders that will benefit greatly from enhanced strategic, operating, financial and regulatory flexibility as independent companies.”
Robert Dickey, who currently serves as president, Gannett U.S. Community Publishing, will become president/CEO of new Gannett.
Upon completion of the separation, TEGNA will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol TGNA and the new Gannett will trade under the symbol GCI.
Initially, the new Gannett will be virtually debt-free and expects to pay a regular cash dividend of $0.64 per share annually and to begin a $150 million share repurchase program to be completed over a three-year period.
TEGNA, at separation, expects to enter into a new revolving credit facility of approximately $1.3 billion. Gannett’s existing debt of approximately $4.4 billion will remain with TEGNA.
The split was originally announced in August 2014, the same time the company said it would acquire the rest of Cars.com for $1.8 billion.
Early this year, USA Today offered buyouts to about 90 staffers over 55 as a cost-cutting measure.