Activist investor HG Vora Capital Management LLC on Friday launched an activist campaign pushing for Tronc Inc. (TRNC) to consider "strategic alternatives" such as a sale, in a move that comes after the company formerly known as Tribune Publishing rejected a hostile bid made by USA Today publisher Gannett Co. (GCI). The acquisition comes after Tronc, the parent company of the L.A. Times and Chicago Tribune, reportedly is considering a counteroffer by Gannett. Politico reported that Gannett has hiked its bid to $18 a share, significantly higher than its $15 a share bid made public in May. Specifically, HG Vora Capital reported accumulating a 14.9% stake made up of a 9.9% equity position and a 5% derivatives interest. In a securities filing, HG Vora said it has engaged and may continue to engage in communications with Tronc's management about "strategic alternatives" such as a potential sale of the company. In addition, at least two large disgruntled investors have held large blocks of shares and are urging the media company to engage in negotiations with Gannett. Asset manager Oaktree Capital Group LLC, which owns a 15% stake, on May 6 reported in an activist securities filing that it was urging the media company to "pursue discussions" with Gannett.
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