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Standard General Increases Tegna Stake to Nearly 12%

Activist investor Standard General on Friday said it has increased its stake in Tegna to 12%, a 20% increase.

Standard General, which is mounting a proxy fight to get a slate of four directors added to Tegna’s board, said that it believes that it is now the largest shareholder in the broadcaster.

On Wednesday, Standard General disclosed that it had sold 5 million shares in swap transactions, a move called “troubling” by Tegna.

“We are fully committed to Tegna, and we are not going anywhere,” said Soo Kim, founding partner of Standard General L.P.

“This increase in our position underscores our conviction that the company’s intrinsic value is much higher than its market price, but also our belief that Tegna will not achieve its full potential without an upgraded board. Our exceptional nominees have the needed experience and expertise to implement changes to Tegna’s business, operations, capital allocation and strategy to transform the company into the best-in-class operator it should be.”

Standard General has called Tegna an under-performer among broadcasting stocks. It also criticized the broadcaster’s approach to merger and acquisition, especially after recent bidders pulled their takeover offer.

“Our additional investment boosts our economic and financial exposure to the company’s equity and signals our steadfast commitment to driving change at Tegna for the benefit of all shareholders. Recently, Tegna has attempted to mislead shareholders and has falsely implied that by reducing the number of physical shares we own, that we reduced our economic interest in the company. In fact, Standard General has actually recently INCREASED its investment by more than 20%.”

Tegna stock closed at $11.32 Thursday and was up six cent in pre-market trading Friday.