Hedge fund-backed MNG Enterprises offers to buy USA Today publisher Gannett

Newspaper chain MNG Enterprises said on Monday it had offered to buy USA Today publisher Gannett for $12 per share in cash, or $1.36 billion.

The price represents a 23 percent premium to Gannett's $9.75 close on Friday.

In a letter sent to Gannett's board, MNG said it had approached the company's board and management on multiple occasions about a potential combination, but Gannett had not "meaningfully engaged."

Gannett, whose shares rose more than 19 percent to $11.60 in trading before the bell, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the buyout offer.

MNG, which has a 7.5 percent stake in Gannett, said it plans to hire an investment bank to conduct a review of options, including a potential sale of Gannett.

Better known as Digital First Media, MNG Enterprises is backed by hedge fund Alden Global Capital and is the publisher of the Denver Post and San Jose Mercury News.

Gannett, which owns newspapers and websites across the United States, has been doing its best to transition away from legacy newsprint to digital subscriptions.