Gannett’s Largest Shareholder Liquidates Nearly All Shares

At the end of 2008, international insurance company AXA S.A. was the single-largest institutional holder of Gannett Co. stock with nearly 31 million shares, a 13.37 percent stake. Monday, it disclosed that it has sold nearly all of its holdings.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), AXA said it owns just 952,828 shares of Gannett, chiefly through its AllianceBernstein subsidiary. The filing did not calculate the percentage of shares outstanding AXA owns, but noted that it was below the 5 percent reporting level.

The disclosure comes almost exactly a month after Chicago-based Ariel Investments disclosed that it had increased its stake in Gannett to 12.5 percent of outstanding shares from 4.8 percent at the end of 2008.

In late afternoon trading, Gannett stock, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the GCI symbol, was priced at $5.27, down 21 cents, or 3.8 percent.