CNBC's stock analyst Jim Cramer rips Tribune Publishing's Michael Ferro in Gannett take-over battle

CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer ripped Tribune Publishing’s boss Michael Ferro a new one for rebuffing Gannett’s generous (really generous) bid to buy Tribune Publishing, which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers. Cramer, who never hesitates to add boneheaded corporate owners and bosses to his “wall of shame” goes beyond his usual outrage in scouring Ferro, the majority owner of Tribune Publishing.

You can see the extraordinary dressing down here. But if you’re in a rush I’ll leave it to the insightful and entertaining  Jim Warren (a former colleague at the Chicago Sun-Tmes and former Tribune managing editor) to describe it in his daily not-t0-miss daily column in Poynter.

Michael Ferro

Michael Ferro

The CNBC host last night did an eight-and-a-half minute “Mad Money” takedown of Tribune Publishing boss Michael Ferro for spurning a takeover proposal from Gannett. (CNBC) Yes, nearly nine minutes on the heretofore little-known Chicago tech mogul. Only three months into his tenure, it’s clear that Ferro wants the company to “remain his own independent plaything” after spurning a nearly 100 percent premium for the stock in an “ailing newspaper business.” Cramer calls it “one of the most gigantic takeover premiums in history!”

He said Ferro has “done so much damage in such a brief time, I had to put him on (the Wall of Shame).” He may deserve “his own annex.” In his mind, Ferro didn’t just destroy value by spurning a $15 a share Gannett offer for stock that recently was at $7.52 but has “hijacked” a publicly held company. He detailed moves of Ferro and a compliant board of directors and said, “We’re entering Crazy Town territory.” That’s especially so, he said, after Ferro created more than 4 million new shares that he sold to a Los Angeles doctor-entrepreneur for the same $15 Gannett was offering. The market is as unimpressed as Cramer, and the stock closed at $11.20 yesterday. Meanwhile, staffers just keep on keeping on with their work. (Poynter)

I have friends at the Tribune, and I worry about them, after watching Ferro do his magic at the Sun-Times, which has gone through far more than its share of tough times.

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  • Best news Ferro has had so far. I remember when Cramer praised Terry Lundgren to his face for taking Marshall Field's upmarket. Macy's stock immediately went down. Then Cramer said he made a big mistake, and Macy's stock went up.

    And I seem to remember you were not so fond of the job Gannett has done (April 26, 2016).

    I guess you better hope your pension is vested, and you can live on it.

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    Ferro is a kook and a half. I hope the shareholders sue his short pants off.

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