Gannett plans to spin off publishing business

Gannett plans 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 percent interest it does not already own in Classified Ventures LLC, which owns Cars.com, for $1.8 billion in cash.

“The bold actions we are announcing today are significant next steps in our ongoing initiatives to increase shareholder value by building scale, increasing cash flow, sharpening management focus, and strengthening all of our businesses to compete effectively in today’s increasingly digital landscape,” Gracia Martore, president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. “Cars.com doubles our growing digital business, while our recent acquisitions of Belo and London Broadcasting doubled our broadcasting portfolio. These acquisitions, combined with our successful initiatives over the past 2-1/2 years to strengthen our Publishing business, make this the right time for a separation into two market-leading companies.”

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