October 24, 2016 Last Updated 12:39 pm

Gannett announces across chain staff layoffs, while ‘tronc’ acquisition rumors continue

‘We made the decision to reduce about 2% of our workforce across the organization, including at headquarters,’ wrote CEO Bob Dickey in a staff memo

Gannett’s flagship newspaper, USA Today, reported that the publisher would be reducing its workforce by “about 2 percent’ in an across the company action.

“We will all feel the loss of great colleagues. Each and every one of you has my deep gratitude for your many contributions to the success of our company,” CEO Bob Dickey said in a letter to employees.

usat-10-24-16“Actions like these are difficult, but I remain steadfastly committed to reinvesting in our employees and the capabilities required to sustain and grow our company so that we may continue to serve our customers with excellence,” CEO Bob Dickey said in a letter to employees.

The news comes only a few days before the company reports earnings on October 27. Few expect there to be much good news.

Meanwhile, rumors continue to swirl that Gannett will reach a deal with tronc – the newspaper publisher formerly known as Tribune Publishing. In what has to be the worse acquisition strategy ever, Gannett has made a bid, raised it, seen its target’s stock price go up because of it, then is raising its bid again. Gannett has basically been bidding against itself.

To the surprise of some media reporters, tronc’s CEO Michael W. Ferro has been stringing Gannett along. As I predicted several months ago, there would no acquisition before the November election – or at least until the maximum influence on that election can take place.

That means that my opinion and that of others will be getting closer, because the time is near that a deal might be announced. In the end, though, it will mean the end of several great newspapers, and the beginning of a new concept in metro newspaper publishing: local papers run by a national publisher, with the minimum sized news staffs allowable when the owner is so highly leveraged.

“Over the next 18 months, we will continue to build our scale and invest in important digital capabilities and experiences – such as critical e-commerce infrastructure and significant upgrades to our digital content platforms,” Dickey said in his memo.

Comments are closed.