Alden appeals to traders over Lee buy plan

Hedge fund says present board ‘lacks the expertise and dedication’

Newspaper chain Lee Enterprises is asking its shareholders to assist it battle off a hostile takeover supply from Alden International Capital. Lee owns the Omaha World Herald, seen above. (Related Press)

The Alden International Capital hedge fund is sending its personal attraction to shareholders of newspaper writer Lee Enterprises as a part of its marketing campaign to accumulate the corporate.

The New York-based hedge fund, which already is among the nation’s largest newspaper house owners, urged Lee shareholders Thursday to help two new administrators it has nominated to assist reshape the Davenport-based firm’s technique.

Lee rejected Alden’s $24 per share supply to purchase the corporate and requested shareholders to assist it battle off Alden’s advances.

Alden is urgent forward with its effort to reshape Lee’s board and substitute the corporate’s Chairwoman Mary Junck and one different board member, regardless that Lee maintains that Alden did not meet its necessities to appoint board members.

Alden sued Lee to power a vote on its nominees, and a trial on that’s scheduled to start Feb. 7, forward of the corporate’s March 10 annual assembly.

Lee has stated that it believes Alden’s $141 million bid “grossly undervalues” the corporate that owns the St. Louis Submit-Dispatch, the Buffalo Information and dozens of different newspapers. Lee additionally owns 10 newspapers in Iowa, together with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Quad-Metropolis Instances and Sioux Metropolis Journal, and has a information sharing a news-sharing association with The Gazette.

Since Alden introduced its bid in November, Lee’s shares have surged as excessive as $44.43 earlier than falling again to shut at $33.47 Thursday.

Alden says Lee shareholders ought to welcome its nominees as a result of they may help the corporate navigate the transition to digital publishing and enhance earnings. However Lee officers and native media advocates have been cautious as a result of Alden has a popularity for steep value prices and in depth layoffs on the greater than 200 newspapers it owns.

“We imagine the corporate and its information and knowledge platform have untapped potential and, with the fitting enhanced technique and improved management, can present important worth for stockholders whereas bettering the standard of journalism for readers and subscribers,” Alden stated in its proxy submitting.

“Sadly, the present board’s determination to prioritize their very own pursuits over what’s clearly finest for the corporate confirms our perception that Lee’s present board lacks the expertise and dedication to good company governance wanted to realize that finish.”

A Lee spokesman declined to remark Thursday, however in their very own letter to shareholders earlier this week Lee officers referred to as Alden a “vulture hedge fund” and urged traders to reject the hedge fund’s nominees.

“We imagine that Alden seeks to considerably overhaul Lee’s board and management workforce not as a result of the board is poor, however exactly as a result of the board has proven it is going to be considerate and thorough, and due to this fact unwilling to promote Lee on the unreasonable and unfair worth that Alden has proposed,” Lee stated in its assertion.

Alden has stated it owns 6.3 % of Lee’s shares. Two different hedge funds that personal giant stakes in Lee have stated they imagine the corporate is value considerably greater than Alden provided.

Alden already owns all of MediaNews Group’s and Tribune’s newspapers, together with the Denver Submit, the Orange County Register and the Boston Herald

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