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Shareholders opt out of media agreement



  Gannett Headquarters in McLean, VA.

Shareholders paved the way for Thursday for New Media Investment Group and US TODAY owner Gannett to merge into a deal that will create the largest US media company in print, and one that will also fight for the largest news audience on the web .

In separate votes, shareholders in each company approved New Media's $ 1

.13 billion acquisition of Gannett. The companies can now move forward to complete the deal, which executives have said will be done by the end of the year.

The combined company will be called Gannett and will own more than 260 daily publications, as well as hundreds of weekdays. The new company will reach an average monthly online audience of more than 145 million unique visitors, according to traffic measurement company Comscore.

The agreement "provides us with a much broader platform to build our digital businesses and to help each of these local markets grow for us from a digital perspective," Gannett CEO Paul Bascobert said Thursday at the company's shareholders meeting, where the poll results were revealed. "Our commitment to building these brands is even stronger than ever."


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