Gannett Headquarters in McLean, VA. [Photo:TimLoehrkeUSAT)

Gannett shareholders voted to reject MNG Enterprises' board members, siding with the US owner today, as it attempts to avert a hostile takeover test by the hedge fund-led newspaper company.

Gannett leader J. Jeffry Louis announced Thursday morning that the company's shareholders supported the eight directors who were re-elected, according to preliminary results of the vote. The three nominees proposed by Alden Global Capital's MNG Enterprises were unable to accommodate the board.

The preliminary results were revealed during Gannett's annual meeting. Official certified results will be filed within days. Voice totals were not immediately available. The spectators applaud when the results were announced.

Bernard Lunzer, president of NewsGuild Union, praised Gannett for accepting the MNG nominations.

"I applaud Gannett for continuing to believe in sustainable journalism," Lunzer said. "It is a difficult task right now. We believe there is a strong future."

MNG in January made an undesirable offer to buy Gannett for $ 12 per share. Gannett rejected the offer as non-credible and claimed that MNG's nominees had potential conflicts of interest.

While MNG was still able to pursue an acquisition, lack of hedging of space at Gannett's board shows a significant setback in its efforts. With seats on the table, MNG could have agitated for a possible deal.

MNG gave no indication of whether it would continue its campaign to acquire Gannett.

"This is a victory for an anchored Gannett board who has been willing to address today's newspapers in the newspaper industry and, unfortunately, a loss to Gannett and its shareholders, MNG says in a statement." Gannett's newspapers are critical local resources, and we hope Gannett's established management and management courses to embrace a modern approach to local news that will save newspapers and serve communities. That would be the best result. If Gannett's board does not change course from overpaying for non-core, aspiring and dilutive digital deals, we believe the stock will fall further. "

Stockholm's consulting firms Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis had questioned MNG's ability to fund bids, but said that $ 12 per share would be a reasonable starting point for calls. Gannett's stock closed Wednesday at $ 8.87 per share. [19659000] Advisory firm weighs in: Gannett wins support for Glass Lewis in battle with MNG

Hostile takeover attempt: Gannett says MNG's proposal Agreement would be overloaded with debt

Gannett board members who re-election were chairman John Jeffry Louis, John E. Cody, Stephen Coll, Donald Felsinger, Lila Ibrahim, Lawrence S. Kramer, Debra A. Sandler, and Chloe R. Sladden.

MNG, otherwise known as Digital First Media, had appointed three members: former MNG CEO Steven Rossi, CEO Dana Goldsmith Needleman and Alden President and MNG Vice President Heath Freeman.

ISS supported Rossi, but did not stand takes the other two. Glass Lewis did not support any of the MNG nominees.

MNG had previously appointed six people to the board, but three times started investigating Alden's traces of cuts and investment gaps.

Gannett has claimed that it has an achievable plan for digital transformation while managing costs closely. MNG has claimed that Gannett should stop investing in digital businesses and need to "correct the size of overhead costs."

Critics say that MNG's record for performing sharp cost savings in newspapers, including the Denver Post and San Jose Mercury News, is not a recipe for growth.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @ NathanBomey .


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