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Gannett, GateHouse to merge in tie-up of big US newspaper groups

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USA Today publisher Gannett agreed to a merger Monday with rival GateHouse in a deal bringing together two of the largest newspaper groups seeking scale in the troubled sector.

GateHouse parent New Media Investment Group will buy Gannett in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at around $1.4 billion that creates a media company with 263 dailies and reaching 145 million customers.

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“We believe this transaction will create value for our shareholders, greater opportunities for our employees, and a stronger future for journalism,” said Michael Reed, New Media chairman and chief executive.

“Uniting our talented employees and complementary portfolios will enable us to expand our comprehensive, hyperlocal coverage for consumers, deepen our product offering for local businesses, and accelerate our shift from print-centric to dynamic multimedia operations.”

Under the deal, New Media will offer stock and cash worth $12.06 per Gannett share and New Media shareholders will hold approximately 50.5 percent of the combined company.

The deal comes with the newspaper sector mired in an extended slump as consumers and advertisers shift to digital platforms.

Jeffry Louis, chairman of the Gannett board, said the tie-up could help the publishers “leverage the combined company?s enhanced scale and financial strength to continue to drive growth in the digital future.”

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A joint statement said the deal could help realize cost savings of $275 million to $300 million annually.

Dan Kennedy, a journalism professor at Northeastern University who follows the newspaper sector, said it remains unclear whether the merger will be positive for local news coverage.

“What’s more important with these combinations is the amount of debt they take on to finance the deal and that has to be paid off,” Kennedy said.

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“So I don’t think it’s good news for the communities that they serve.”


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Two impeachment articles expected against President Trump: reports

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Democrats are expected to announce on Tuesday two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, US media reported Monday evening, after laying out their case at a hearing against a president they branded a "clear and present danger" to national security.

The articles will focus on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, The Washington Post said, citing three official familiar with the matter.

It added that the full House of Representatives would vote on the articles next week, ahead of a trial in the Senate.

CNN said a third article on obstruction of justice was still being debated, and the network's sources cautioned that plans were still being finalized.

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Ambassador McFaul ‘shocked’ Trump invited Sergey Lavrov back to the Oval Office: ‘What are they thinking?’

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Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul repeatedly said he was shocked that President Donald Trump will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.

McFaul was interviewed Monday evening by Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC "The Last Word," where he contrasted how Trump is treating the Russian government of President Vladimir Putin to the Ukrainian government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"Ambassador McFaul, I want to get your reaction to the Russian foreign minister meeting tomorrow at the White House, in the Oval Office, with President Trump," O'Donnell said. "That's his second time. President Zelinsky still hasn't gotten that meeting and Donald trump apparently, apparently may be voted articles of impeachment in committee this week because of his interactions with President Zelensky."

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House Judiciary to vote on Thursday to impeach Donald Trump: report

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Democrats are moving ahead with the impeachment of President Donald Trump following another day of testimony on Monday.

"House Democrats plan to unveil at least two articles of impeachment Tuesday, charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, according to multiple lawmakers and aides. The Judiciary Committee plans to vote on the articles on Thursday, setting up a vote on the House floor next week to make Trump the third president in history to be impeached," Politico reported Monday evening.

"Democratic leaders plan to formally announce the articles at a press conference Tuesday morning. Judiciary Committee Democrats intend to meet ahead of the announcement and review the articles," Politico reported. "The decision to move forward with specific impeachment charges is the most significant move yet for the year-old Democratic House majority, a legacy-defining moment for Speaker Nancy Pelosi that sets up a Senate trial for Trump in early 2020."

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