Davenport-based newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises on Friday rejected a would-be buyer’s attempt to nominate three new members to the Lee board next year. Lee is citing procedural flaws in its filing.
Lee said New York hedge fund Alden Global Capital’s mistakes include making the nominations through a third party that did not own Lee shares.
“Alden’s hasty and convoluted attempt to work around our simple and common procedure on the eve of the nomination deadline does not meet the clear requirements of Lee’s bylaws. Alden’s failure is entirely of its own making. Alden is not entitled to invent its own process for its convenience,” the newspaper publisher stated in a news release issued Friday.
Lee also noted that the deadline for 2022 board nominations has passed, so Alden cannot try again. “Alden may not nominate any candidates for election to the board at the 2022 Annual Meeting,” according to Lee’s news release.
A representative for Alden did not respond to the QCBJ for a request for comment.
According to Joshua Fineman of the Seeking Alpha website, Alden is looking to nominate John S. Zieser, Colleen B. Brown and Carlos P. Salas to the Lee board.
Lee also stated Friday that it will announce the 2022 annual meeting date and file proxy materials with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission at a later date.
On Nov. 22, Alden made an unsolicited bid to take control of Lee for $24 per share in cash.
The newspaper chain later announced that it may launch a “poison pill” plan that has the goal of making it more difficult and more costly for Alden to get controlling stake of the company. The plan would allow its other shareholders to buy shares at a 50% discount or possibly get free shares for every share they already own. The plan would take effect if Alden gets control of at least 10% of Lee’s stock.
Lee Enterprises owns 77 daily newspapers across the nation, including the Quad-City Times, Dispatch/Argus and Muscatine Journal in the Quad Cities region.