Tribune Publishing said Tuesday in a letter that USA Today owner Gannett was "erratic" and "unreliable" as the two newspaper companies tried to discuss a possible tie-up.
Nonetheless, Tribune said it is still considering the $388 million takeover offer from Gannett.
Tribune's letter comes a day after Gannett made public its bid to buy the owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Gannett Co., based in McLean, Virginia, said Monday that Tribune refused to have meaningful discussions about a deal.
In its letter Tuesday, Tribune said Gannett executives cancelled a meeting without reason and once asked it to make a decision about the proposal within 90 minutes.
"Gannett has been playing games," Tribune said in the letter, which was signed by Tribune CEO Justin Dearborn.
Gannett responded with its own letter Tuesday, saying that the meeting was cancelled because a person from Tribune's team who did not know about the offer would be there.
"Tribune was well aware of Gannett's reason for cancelling the dinner," Gannett CEO Robert Dickey said in the letter.
Gannett said it is "eager" to negotiate a deal with Tribune.
"Please let us know when and where you would like to meet," the letter said.
Gannett said Monday that it wants to buy Chicago-based Tribune to expand its USA Today Network, an effort launched late last year that helps it share stories between national paper USA Today and its more than 100 local daily newspapers.
Besides the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, buying Tribune would give Gannett control of the Hartford Courant, The Baltimore Sun and several other newspapers.
Gannett shares slipped 24 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $16.55 in morning trading Tuesday. Shares of Tribune Publishing Co. rose 5 cents to $11.55.