Belo Sued by Investor Over $1.5 Billion Gannett Takeover

Belo Corp., the TV station operator, was sued by an investor seeking to block a $1.5 billion takeover by USA Today publisher Gannett Co. because the $13.75-a-share bid is too low.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 363 pension fund sued Dallas-based Belo in Delaware Chancery Court, saying company directors are obligated to get the best price and agreed to an inadequate offer, according to filings made public today in Wilmington.

“The process by which Belo was sold to Gannett was not an auction process,” the fund said in the complaint. “Gannett CEO Gracia Martore acknowledged that the deal came about as a result of exclusive talks.”

The fund asks a judge to stop the deal under its present terms and to award unspecified legal fees and expenses.

Meghan Gavigan, a Belo spokeswoman with Sard Verbinnen & Co., said Belo had no comment on the lawsuit.

Belo operates 20 TV stations, reaching more than 14 percent of households in 15 major markets, the companies said in a June 13 joint statement. Gannett, based in McLean, Virginia, owns 82 newspapers and 23 TV stations.

The case is IBEW Local 363 Pension Trust Fund v. Belo Corp., CA8649, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

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