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Belo Said to Have 70% Shareholder Support for Gannett Offer

Belo Corp., the TV station owner that is the target of a $1.5 billion takeover bid by Gannett Co., has support from more than 70 percent of its shareholders for the deal, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Belo hasn’t received any superior offers and can’t accept a new bid once the Gannett deal is approved, said the person, who asked not to be named because the process is private. The official vote, set to take place tomorrow morning, requires at least two-thirds of shareholders to accept the acquisition, company filings show.

Gannett, the owner of USA Today, is acquiring Belo to gain TV stations and regional cable news channels, reducing its dependence on a shrinking newspaper business. The deal will make Gannett the fourth-largest owner of major network affiliates, almost doubling the McLean, Virginia-based company’s broadcast portfolio to 43 stations from 23.

Gannett declined to comment on the preliminary vote tally, according to Jeremy Gaines, a spokesman for the company. A spokesmen for Dallas-based Belo didn’t respond to a request for comment on the preliminary results.

Gannett agreed to buy Belo in June for $13.75 a share, a 28 percent premium to Belo’s closing price the day before the deal was announced, and the assumption of $715 million in debt, according to a statement at the time.

Belo closed at $13.80 today in New York, giving the company a market capitalization of more than $1.4 billion. Gannett rose less than 1 percent to $25.75, for a market value of $5.9 billion. The shares have climbed almost 43 percent this year.

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