A report by Poynter says that GateHouse-Gannett is undertaking a massive company-wide transformation of Gannett, which has told its business office employees that 485 of their jobs are being outsourced to Hyderabad in India. This is to happen early next year, with the employees laid off to be notified by 15 January 2021.
In a frequently asked questions document, the company said this was an efficiency measure to keep costs low. The jobs being outsourced entail billing, invoicing, monthly bookkeeping, and summary reports. Apparently, Gannet has said the laid-off employees could continue till April, and many may be involved in training their replacements, something called ‘transitioning.’
Two of the largest newspaper media houses in the United States were combined in the second half of 2019 as GateHouse Media acquired Gannett for US$ 1.4 billion. The deal concluded in November, created the largest newspaper company in the US with a print circulation of 8.7 million, approximately 7 million more than the McClatchy group with a combined circulation of 2 million copies. Chatham Asset Management acquired McClatchy in a court auction in July approved by the court in August 2020.
When the New Media Investment Group and its GateHouse newspaper chain acquired Gannett, it took a US$ 1.2 billion loan from Apollo Global Capital and assumed another US$ 600 million of debt. Of the debt, US$ 180 million has been repaid, with US$ 500 million refinanced at a lower interest rate. The Poynter story says that the pandemic ad recession has increased the combined group’s financial stress, with nearly all employees given an unpaid leave of a week over several months. Earlier this year, it offered buyouts to employees with about 500 applications accepted, half of them journalists.