Tribune Publishing Co. has named former U.S. Rep. David Dreier to the board of directors for the publisher of several of the country's most iconic newspaper brands, including the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, and Chicago Tribune.
“Congressman Dreier is a proven leader who brings a unique perspective based on his over three decades of public service as well as his passion for innovative research and technology,” Tribune board chairman Michael Ferro said in a statement.
“David’s wealth of relationships, knowledge and expertise will be extremely valuable in guiding Tribune’s growth as the company continues executing against our plan to create value for all shareholders and stakeholders,” Ferro said.
Dreier, 63, had been one of California’s most popular and influential Republicans in Congress, representing the Los Angeles area from 1981 to 2013. Dreier was often touted as a potential Speaker of the House.
“Tribune has an unmatched platform of iconic brands that are vital to communities across the country. I am pleased to join the Tribune board at such a pivotal time in the company’s history,” Dreier said.
“A robust Fourth Estate is critical to a functioning democracy. I look forward to working closely with my fellow directors to further the company’s efforts to expand the reach and value of Tribune’s world-class journalism for the benefit of all Tribune shareholders.”
In February, Tribune underwent a shake-up when Ferro’s Merrick Media LLC became the company’s largest shareholder, buying 16.6% of the company’s shares for $44.4 million, The Wall Street Journal
Ferro became nonexecutive chairman that month and within weeks had replaced much of the company’s upper management, including the naming of a new CEO, the Journal reported.
Gannett Co. has aggressively pursued Tribune’s portfolio of newspapers, which had revenue of $1.67 billion last year. The rival news company made two offers -- one in April for $12.25 a share and a second in May for $15 a share. Gannett would also assume about $385 million in debt, Bloomberg News reported.
Tribune’s board rejected both offers as too low and not in shareholders’ best interests, saying they undervalue the company. The company appears to be revamping its old line newspaper business for the digital age – and recently renamed its newspaper group “tronc.”
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