Archive for April, 2007

Not in a ‘regional cluster?’ Watch your back

April 12, 2007

Couldn’t help but note the second-to-last paragraph in this story about today’s surprise sale of four GCI newspapers to GateHouse Media: “Gannett, which also publishes USA Today, said the sale fits with the company’s strategic plan, which favors regional clusters of newspapers.”

The four papers and their circulations:
* Rockford (Ill.) Register Star, 65,000
* Observer-Dispatch in Utica, N.Y, 43,000.
* Herald-Dispatch in Huntington, W.Va., 30,000.
* Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin, 26,000.

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In Barron’s, speculation over dividend increase

April 9, 2007

The financial weekly says GCI could more than double its dividend, to $4 a year, or spin off its television business to “placate shareholders who have watched rival publisher Tribune receive a buyout bid,” this Reuters story says.

From Barron’s (paid subscription required) : “Its current dividend policy seems stingy. Given the challenges in the industry, it might have to rethink its conservative financial and corporate strategy. Unlike New York Times, Dow Jones (DJ, the publisher of Barron’s) and Washington Post (WPO), Gannett doesn’t have a controlling family or super-voting stock. If the company doesn’t move, it could attract activist investors who would seek to force change.”

Wall Street is warming to the idea this morning: GCI is up as much as 2%.

Post-Tribune, GCI safe from Wall Street?

April 4, 2007

Industry leader Gannett is now the only large, publicly traded and non-family controlled newspaper publisher, says a new Associated Press story.

“But,” the AP says, “that company has long been well-regarded on Wall Street and doesn’t have any single large shareholder who could shake things up, as was the case at both Tribune and Knight Ridder.”

Maybe. And maybe not. If memory serves, Knight Ridder felt the pressure of several shareholders, led by Private Capital Management, ganging up on that chain. Who’s to say that couldn’t happen to GCI?