Gannett is the latest media company to spin off its publishing division to focus on its faster-growing TV station and digital businesses.
In a statement released today Gannett announced its plan “to create two publicly traded companies with scale: one exclusively focused on its Broadcasting and Digital businesses, and the other on its Publishing business. The planned separation of the Publishing business will be implemented through a tax-free distribution of Gannett’s Publishing assets to shareholders. The transaction will create two focused companies with increased opportunities to grow organically across all businesses as well as pursue strategic acquisitions.”
Gannett has also signed a definitive agreement to acquire full ownership of Cars.com, one of the leading digital companies in the automotive space. Under the agreement, Gannett will acquire the 73% interest it does not already own in Classified Ventures LLC, which owns Cars.com, for $1.8 billion in cash.”
The announcement added, “Following the separation, Gannett’s Broadcasting and Digital company, which has yet to be named, will remain headquartered in McLean, Virginia, and will trade on the NYSE. Gracia Martore will serve as Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcasting and Digital company at that time.
“The Broadcasting business, which includes 46 television stations the company owns or services, will be the largest independent station group of major network affiliates in the top 25 markets. The company’s stations reach approximately one-third of all television households nationwide and represent the #1 NBC affiliate group, #1 CBS affiliate group and #4 ABC affiliate group (excluding 0wner-operators). The Digital business will consist of several other well positioned and growing online companies in addition to Cars.com. The largest is CareerBuilder, a global leader in human capital solutions majority owned by Gannett, that provides services ranging from labor market intelligence to talent management software and other recruitment solutions. It is the largest online job site in the U.S., measured both by traffic and revenue, and has a presence in more than 60 markets worldwide.”
About the publishing spinoff Gannett said, “Following the separation, the Publishing company, which will retain the Gannett name, is expected to be listed for trading on the NYSE and will remain headquartered in McLean, Virginia. Robert J. Dickey, currently president of Gannett’s U.S. Community Publishing division, will become Chief Executive Officer of the Publishing company upon completion of the separation.
“As the largest U.S. newspaper publisher, Gannett provides content through its flagship brand USA TODAY, a multi-platform news and information company that ranks #1 in combined print and digital circulation, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. It will also include 81 local U.S. daily publications as well as Newsquest, a leading regional community news provider in the U.K., with 17 daily paid-for titles and more than 200 weekly print products, magazines and trade publications. The Publishing business will continue to build on its expanding digital presence, which includes digital products available on all platforms. The USA TODAY app is a top news app in the U.S. with more than 20 million downloads to date, and USATODAY.com continues to be one of the most popular news sites in the country.”