Journal Media Group shareholders sign off on Gannett merger

Journal Media Group shareholders signed off on the newspaper chain’s merger with Gannett, the parent company of USA Today and a group of local newspapers in Wisconsin.

The $280 million deal, which still needs regulatory approval, faced questions as some shareholders said Gannett wasn’t offering a high enough buying price. But Journal Media Group said 92 percent of the shares at yesterday’s meeting approved the merger; about 71 percent of outstanding shares participated in the vote.

The Milwaukee-based company owns 14 newspapers across the country, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“Today’s vote is an important step toward enabling our portfolio of local media brands to better navigate the transformation of our industry and continue to serve readers and advertisers with quality content, products and services,” said Tim Stautberg, the company’s president and CEO. “We look forward to joining Gannett’s USA Today Network with a commitment to strengthening lives and communities.”

Stautberg would receive about $4.56 million in cash, stocks and other payments if the deal closes. He’s been with the company since it launched last April, when Journal Communications and E.W. Scripps Company spun off their newspaper assets as part of a merger.

Gannett spokesman Michael Dickerson said the company is “hopeful to conclude and complete the transaction” in the coming weeks.

The deal would give shareholders $12 in cash for each share they own in Journal Media, a roughly 44 percent premium from the company’s closing price on Oct. 7, as the companies were finalizing details of the deal.

See the Journal Media Group release

See an earlier story from on the shareholders’ concerns

— By Polo Rocha,