Credit: Sun-Times

The Tribune reports that “more than 40 percent of Tribune Publishing shareholders withheld support” at last Thursday’s shareholders meeting for each of the company’s slate of eight directors. 

“That’s a big number, 40 percent,” the director of the University of Delaware’s center for corporate governance told the Tribune.”

But Gannett—which has bid $15 a share in a bid to take over the company—promptly came up with a bigger number. It alerted me by e-mail that more than 50 percent of the independent shares—that is, those not held by the company’s powers that be—withheld support for five of the eight directors. The five included chairman Michael Ferro and Ferro’s hand-picked CEO, Justin Dearborn. Each received slightly less than a 50 percent endorsement.

The election was held hours too soon for it to reflect whatever farsightedness and acumen the shareholders believe is reflected in Ferro’s decision to rename the company tronc, Inc., effective June 20.