In a statement Tuesday morning, Tronc said: “It is unfortunate that Gannett’s lenders made their decision to terminate their role in the transaction without the benefit of Tronc’s third quarter financials or any future projections.
“Tronc remained a constructive partner to Gannett as it sought to complete its financing for the agreed upon purchase price, however, Gannett was unable to do so and terminated discussions.”
On Thursday, trading of Tronc shares was temporarily halted after a report that banks potentially involved in Gannett’s effort to acquire the Chicago-based newspaper company had pulled out, sinking the stock of both companies. Earlier Thursday, Gannett issued a tepid earnings report, and CEO Bob Dickey said the company was committed to pursuing acquisitions, but ones that made sense.
Astonishing to me that we even needed the Internet to fuck up newspapers. Look, for years we have been treating what has happened to journalism like everything other than what it is: a crisis of business management. We’ve talked about digital paradigms and mobile integration and kids and their iPhones and getting news “for free” and every single minute we were chasing shiny things like that, money was going out the door by the pallet.
These people had customers who paid for their products. As many customers this year as in Glorious Past Year X? No, but still a hell of a lot of customers, who created enough demand to pay the bills had the companies been run in a reasonable manner. Had the companies’ owners not loaded them up with nonsense — unsustainable debt, needless and counterproductive acquisitions, expensive consulting contracts that produce things like “tronc,” golden parachutes for executives who need to be chucked out the back door with the trash every other year — they could have sustained themselves and the Democracy and American Jounalism they pretend to represent for years if not forever.
Instead they pissed it all away and told the readers who stuck around to watch the trash fire burn that it was all those readers who were to blame. This was inevitable, and though the Internet accelerated the decline, what it mainly did was give newspapers companies a convenient, young, technological place for its bullshit and blame.