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Gannett Bids for 14.3 Percent of Cowles Media

March 22, 1985

CHICAGO (AP) _ Gannett Co. has made a bid to acquire a 14.3 percent stake in Cowles Media Co., which publishes the Minneapolis Star & Tribune and other newspapers, it was reported today.

Douglas H. McCorkindale, Gannett vice chairman and chief financial officer, told the Chicago Tribune on Thursday that his company offered a bid to acquire the Cowles Media stock, now held by Des Moines Register and Tribune Co.

McCorkindale didn’t offer details of the bid, which was presented to the Register and Tribune Co.’s investment banker, First Boston Corp.

Register and Tribune and Cowles Media are controlled by the Cowles family. The family agreed in January to sell all the assets and liquidate the Des Moines company. As part of the liquidation, the Register and Tribune agreed to sell the Des Moines Register and other newspaper properties to Gannett for $200 million.

Cowles family members have said repeatedly that Cowles Media Co. is not for sale.

The Register and Tribune board is to meet Monday to discuss how to dispose of its 14.3 percent stake in Cowles Media. The board may distribute the stock to Register and Tribune shareholders or sell it to an outside bidder.

Washington Post Co. agreed earlier this month to buy a 17 percent block of Cowles Media stock for an undisclosed price from a large shareholder in the Minneapolis firm.

But a Post spokesman declined to say if his firm was bidding for the Cowles Media block owned by the Register and Tribune.

It is believed the Post was one of the companies that lost to Gannett in the bidding for the Des Moines Register.

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