Three director nominees put forward by a dissident investor group won Media General board seats at a shareholders' meeting, beating management-backed candidates.
The directors elected last week back hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, which holds about 18% of Media General's class-A shares and is pushing for big changes to revive the company's slumping share price. Separately, Harbinger was recently granted two seats on the board at The New York Times Co. after some verbal jousting.
The share price of the Richmond, Va.-based newspaper group and broadcaster slumped 60% in the past year, much like other companies that are in both sectors of the business. Media General stock rose on the news of the new board election.
The new directors will hold one-third of Media General's nine board seats, but due to a dual-class stock structure, the family of chairman Stewart Bryan controls the rest. Six other company-backed directors were also elected.
Media General president Marshall Morton said the company expects to generate $40 million in political ad spending, and has begun the streamlining he expects will save the company as much as $28 million.