TEGNA Time – Gannett Unveils Puzzling New Name For Future Broadcasting & Digital Business

Last year, Gannett (GCI) finally decided to follow the pack and spin off its publishing assets into a standalone company. Given its storied history, the publishing group will retain both the Gannett name and GCI ticker, so the corporate braintrust had the opportunity to pick an exciting original name for its new digital and broadcasting business. Most people probably expected the company to go the boring route with a name like Gannett Media, but luckily the company decided to go bold. Annoyingly, ALL CAPS bold with the name TEGNA, which will trade on the NYSE under the ticker ‘TGNA’ post-spin.

So…why TEGNA? According to Gannett’s CEO & President Gracia Martone, ‘TEGNA is a nod to the more than 100 year-old history of Gannett. While always reminding us where we came from, the new name also shows our innovative spirit and commitment to being a forward-looking company that empowers people, businesses and communities to grow and thrive.’ Very nice, except for the fact that it’s entirely unclear what the ‘nod’ is to the company’s 100 year old history. Realizing that something was lacking in the press release, a VP of Corporate Communications offered some more details later in the day, explaining that ‘TEGNA is composed of the letters of Gannett…it is not quite a full anagram. But because Gannett has two “n’s” and two “t’s”, we eliminated one of each.’ A sort of anagram is certainly a first and that doesn’t really explain the all caps either. Not surprisingly, the choice is being ridiculed and lambasted in the court of public opinion – there are quite a number of amusing tweets out there poking fun at the company. Adding insult to injury is the fact that when typing, the new company name supposedly auto-corrects to ‘Tenga’, a line of Japanese sex toys. This is sure to join Mondelez (MDLZ) in the pantheon of poor name choices.

With a name in place, the company noted that the spin is on track to be completed in the middle of this year.

Disclosure: Author holds no position in any stock mentioned.