Gannett holds merger talks with Gatehouse Media: WSJ

(Reuters) - USA Today owner Gannett Co Inc has recently discussed the possibility of a merger with Gatehouse Media Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The McLean, Virginia-based company’s shares were up 1.7% at $7.76.

Like other news publishers, Gannett has been struggling with a fall in revenue and has invested millions to scale up its digital footprint.

The USA Today is the largest circulated daily newspaper in the United States, according to market research firm Cision Media Research in January.

Gannett recently fended off newspaper chain MNG Enterprises’s efforts to put its nominees on the Gannett board, months after it rejected MNG’s $1.36 billion hostile takeover bid.

Better known as Digital First Media, Alden Global Capital LLC-backed MNG is one of the largest newspaper holding companies in the United States, and owns more than 200 publications.

Tribune Publishing Co had also reportedly tried to re-start merger talks with Gannett in January, according to a WSJ report , more than two years after the newspaper publisher rejected Gannett’s takeover offer.

Gannett declined to comment on the report, while Gatehouse Media did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

Reporting by Sayanti Chakraborty in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Shailesh Kuber