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Hedge fund tries to gain support for Gannett takeover

Heath Freeman, the hedgie behind Alden Global Capital is frantically trying to shore up some votes ahead of the May 16 Gannett shareholder meeting as his $1.36 billon takeover for the publisher of USA Today and 110 local papers is losing steam.

Freeman and two other proposed dissident board of director nominees Steven Rossi and Dana Goldsmith Needleman held calls Wednesday with individual Gannett shareholders trying to persuade them to vote for their slate, a leading Gannett shareholder told The Post’s Josh Kosman.

Alden owns the newspaper chain MNG Enterprises — also known as Digital First Media — which has been dangling a $12-a-share offer for Gannett, a company in which Alden owns 7.5 percent of the stock.

The Alden aligned executives on the calls conceded they would be willing to support another suitor that could top their offer.

But that news caused the Gannett shareholder to wonder if Alden actually had a bid to present.

When asked about its financing, Alden conceded it could not arrange a “highly confident letter” of financing until it conducted due diligence on Gannett.

“Money can only be committed once the data room is open,” the shareholder said he was told by the Alden executives.

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