Media General wants hedge fund to back off


Media General CEO Marshall Morton repeated yesterday in his conference call with Wall Street analysts that he has repeatedly tried to speak with representative of Harbinger Capital since last summer, when the hedge fund first disclosed that it had acquired a stake in the company, but that only this week, after saying it would nominate three candidates to the Media General board (1/28/08 TVBR #18), did Harbinger indicate any willingness to have a meeting.

“We continue to be puzzled as to what Harbinger hopes to achieve by its actions. This hedge fund appears to have a high portfolio turnover rate, rotating out of numerous holdings every six to twelve months. A board member having such a short-term perspective would be disruptive to our company and would, in our view, be adverse to the legitimate, long-term interests of all Media General stockholders,” Morton said of the hedge fund’s attempts to place nominees on the board.

Still, he’s ready to talk. “We welcome Harbinger’s willingness to engage in a dialogue with us. We look forward hearing what they have to say and to giving them our perspective on the issues they have raised such as corporate governance, strategic direction and capital allocation,” Morton said.