Carl Icahn has taken an interest in News Journal owner Gannett company in a move with an eerie resemblance to the maneuvers by Nelson Peltz at DuPont Co.
Like DuPont, Gannett is splitting the company into two parts and Ican, like Peltz is no big fan of management. Both Icahn and Peltz have taken small stakes in the two companies.
Icahn, while OK with the split, is concerned that Gannett management has put anti-takeover defenses in place that protect their jobs and over the long term hold down the stock price.
Gannett’s CEO – who is not held in high regard among employees, especially after the recent process that forced staff to reapply for their jobs – sent a memo advising the rank and file not to be distracted by news about Ican.
The split separates the company into the sexier TV and online businesses and shrinking legacy newspapers and their websites. There have been faint indications the newspaper only company might consider strengthening its franchise by buying up nearby competitors, but Ican might end up having a say about such things. He has a longer track record than Peltz in making trouble for companies and buying up distressed assets.
Icahn is active in the Atlantic City casino industry, after snapping up the Tropicana and installing a new management team that seems to have made it one of the healthier properties in that troubled market. He is also pumped some money into the Trump Taj Mahal, giving that casino a reprieve.