BATTLE LOOMS AFTER TEGNA SMACKDOWN

“Since Standard General invested in TEGNA in 2019, TEGNA has campaigned energetically – and wastefully – in defense of a long-term track record of underperformance. Instead of moving with urgency to explore all avenues to maximize value for all shareholders, the incumbent TEGNA Board and management team spent in excess of $6 million of shareholders’ money in Q4 2019 alone—and are poised to spend millions more in 2020—to defend the status quo and entrench a Board that does not include a single independent director with direct experience in local affiliate TV broadcasting…”

So reads part of a  release from Standard General after a smackdown from the corporate board of Tegna, which is now likely converting into a war room, following its emphatic rejection of three Standard board nominees.

We reported to you last month that back in August that venture capitalist Soohyung Kim snapped up nearly 10 percent of the available shares in Tegna with the inevitable result that Kim would seek a bigger role in the company’s operations.

Kim argues that Tegna is focusing far too much on acquisitions and not nearly enough on making its current properties more profitable.

Kim’s company, Standard General LP nominated four directors last month after its calls for board representation and a strategic review hit an impasse

Tegna quickly rejected one of the four – Kim himself, and promised to evaluate the remaining three.

All three, Colleen Brown, Ellen McClain Haime and Deborah McDermott, are tv industry veterans.

Tegna rejected all three, instead appointing Karen Grimes, a former partner at Wellington Management Co. to its board

In rejecting the trio, Tegna declared it was not in the company’s best interest to take any of them on.

This isn’t over and could get very interesting.

Think proxy fight.

More News from Friday, February 21, 2020