Belo has 70% approval for Gannett offer


BeloBelo, the target of a $1.5 billion takeover bid by Gannett, has support from more than 70% of its shareholders for the deal, according to a Bloomberg article. Belo hasn’t received any superior offers and can’t accept a new bid once the Gannett deal is approved.

Gannett is acquiring Belo to gain TV stations and regional cable news channels. The deal will make Gannett the fourth-largest owner of major network affiliates, almost doubling the McLean, VA-based company’s broadcast portfolio to 43 stations from 23.

Gannett agreed to buy Belo in June for $13.75 a share, a 28% premium to Belo’s closing price the day before the deal was announced, and the assumption of $715 million in debt.

Pine River Capital management, a Minnesota hedge fund that holds a 6.6% stake in Belo, said earlier this month it plans to vote against the deal, per the Wall Street Journal. Pine River argues the $13.75-per-share price Gannett is paying is less than Belo is worth.

Belo shareholders represent a total stake of 42.5% of the company’s voting power. Two-thirds of all outstanding shares have to vote in favor of the deal for it to move forward.

The proposed drew a second request for information from DOJ last month. DOJ was looking into antitrust implications of the transaction, if any. The parties note that at a minimum, closing the deal cannot happen until at least 30 days subsequent to compliance with the DOJ request. The FCC is also reviewing the deal as usual, but the parties are not expecting any snags. They stated, “Gannett and Belo continue to expect to close the transaction by the end of 2013 as previously announced.”

The transaction was accepted by the FCC for filing 6/20/13, and involves stations in Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, Seattle-Tacoma, Phoenix, St. Louis, Portland OR, Charlotte, San Antonio, Austin, Norfolk-Newport News, New Orleans, Louisville, Tucson and Spokane. Secondary deals involve spin-offs and 3rd-party LMAs in Phoenix, Portland, Louisville and Tucson.

See the Bloomberg story here