In first since at least ’95, GCI dividend held steady

Updated at 8:01 p.m. ET. Citing “the challenging business and economic environment,” Gannett today declined to boost its quarterly dividend — breaking with tradition stretching back at least 13 years. (Dividend history.)

Meeting today, the board of directors instead approved a 40-cent dividend — the rate in effect since July 2007. Quoting Chairman and CEO Craig Dubow, the company said in a statement: “With a substantial current dividend yield of 9%, and in view of the challenging business and economic environment, we have decided not to increase our dividend at this time. Our strong cash flow and solid financial position enable us to maintain our ongoing commitment to return value to our shareholders.”

Had the dividend been increased today, it would have been the 40th such hike since Gannett went public in 1967, based on last year’s press release. (That makes me wonder if, in fact, today’s decision is the first time ever that the company has declined to raise the dividend. That dividend history, however, only goes back to 1995.)

Initially, investors were unfazed today. By the close, however, Gannett shares fell 1.5%, to $18.12, on a down day for stock markets overall.

Earlier: Connell says no dividend cut in the works, but . . .

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9 Responses to “In first since at least ’95, GCI dividend held steady”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I hear that Gannett has ordered its newspapers to reduce payroll by 20-25% within the next couple of weeks, in order to appease Wall Street. I also hear they are going after middle management. Has anyone else heard this?

  2. Jim Hopkins Says:

    Here’s what I wrote in a comment on a post at: http://tinyurl.com/6ry28e

    My comment: Here’s the most specific information I’m hearing about rumors of layoffs. I’ve asked company flak Tara Connell about this 24 hours ago, and still have not heard back. This is based on a single e-mail from a reader who claims to be in a position to know. Take this with a grain of salt.



    Gannett’s newspapers, and possibly other worksites, are being asked to reset their payroll budget to the levels in June — minus 1%. In other words, publishers must find a way to trim employee expenses by 1%. Proposals were due to HR on Tuesday, with a final announcement (assuming there’s even an announcement) on Monday — tomorrow at the earliest.

    

”Look for other changes,” the tipster says, “including a reduction in the number of sections to save labor in press rooms (think: Orlando Sentinel/Chicago Tribune/Los Angeles Times-style) and aggressive geo-consolidations — finance; circulation, including home delivery; human resources and recruiting, and perhaps some news functions (i.e., copy/pagination desks. Wausau, Wis., is the model for smaller, clustered sites).”

  3. Anonymous Says:

    At our shop, they’re going to zero OT for the rest of the year. That should be fun around election time.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Is that “zero OT” as in not doing the time? Or as not being paid for it?

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Our department – and I’m sure that we’re by far not the worst off here – can’t afford to give up any more, even 1 percent. We can’t get our work done as it is and quality is slipping fast as workers try to get enough done to get the paper out – little details like quality control come later if there is time. This is leading to short term savings, but eventually the decrease in quality is going to come back around on us…

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Anon @ 2:01 …

    I’m not surprised. And, the decrease in quality is already adversely affecting Circ volumes, Ad revenues and customer service.

    But remember what our fearless leader, SCJ, told executives and department heads across the company during the Grand September Meetings in 2005: “Good enough is good enough.”

  7. Anonymous Says:

    well at least we’re not raising the price of the daily papers…oh wait

  8. Anonymous Says:

    when writers and copy editors in indy complained about the “good enough” idea, babs henry denied having said it — or at least denied that what she said meant what the words clearly said.

    yeah, the information center has put out more information, but not much context, and editing has slipped as workloads have jumped. but, of course, people still are spanked over errors. thank god and grayhound she’s gone (and ali zobi too).

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I continue to be amazed at how much critism, none of it constructive, is made on this blog.

    We could eliminate publisher cars (actually, that has already started at my paper), but bonuses totally out for every executive, cut out country club (we don’t have any at my paper) and it would have next to no impact on the bottom line.

    There must be a new revenue initiative, a new source of cash, soon. It can be good enough or bad enough, but it must be fast.

    Without that change, there will continue to be expense reductions, because it’s clear from the quarterly statements that real estate and other classified have dropped from the business.

    Everyone rails about cuts here and there, perks for executives, etc., but nobody comes up with ways to make new business happens. Bitch all you want but the reality is that if something doesn’t happen there were be more and more reductions in every space around the company.

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