Gannett headquarters in McLean, VA. (Photo: Tim Loehrke, USAT)

Gannett Co. sent a letter Monday to its shareholders defending its growth strategy and recommending that they reject a hedge fund-owned newspaper company’s attempt to seize control of its board.

Gannett, owner of USA TODAY and more than 100 other publications, accused MNG Enterprises Inc. of “attempting to promote its self-serving agenda to take control of Gannett” by nominating six directors to the company’s board.

Gannett recommended that shareholders re-elect all of the members of its board who have decided to serve again.

MNG, also known as Digital First Media, made an unsolicited bid to acquire Gannett for $12 per share on Jan. 14, to lead Gannett to growth. Gannett rejected the bid as not

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