NEW YORK (AP) — Activist investor Carl Icahn has nominated two people to the board of USA Today publisher Gannett Co.
Gannett says it will evaluate the proposal but found it surprising. The media company is planning to split its print and broadcast divisions into separate companies.
Icahn, who owns a 6.6 percent stake in Gannett, says in an SEC filing that he is concerned that the separated companies might become targets of a takeover attempt. He says he wants to make sure shareholders will be able to weigh in on any offer.
Icahn also says he will propose that shareholders should have the right to vote on any plan the companies may adopt to fend off unwelcome takeover attempts and that holders of 10 percent or more of company stock be able to call special shareholder meetings.
"We are surprised by Mr. Icahn's aggressive actions, including his threat to run a proxy contest to force wholesale changes in Gannett's corporate governance and dictate the corporate governance of a company whose governance profile has yet to be determined," said Marge Magner, Gannett's nonexecutive chairman, in a statement.
Gannett's shares rose 50 cents to $31.86 in morning trading.