Bear clawed: Gannett shares dive another 7%

Updated at 8:15 p.m ET. GCI’s stock swooned to $17.40 — down $1.25, or 6.7% — as shares lost ground for a fourth consecutive trading day, Google Finance says. Newspaper stocks as a group were clobbered as well. Meanwhile, the widely watched S&P-500 Index, a broad measure of stock market activity, rose less than 1%.

With today’s tumble, Gannett’s shares have fallen 10% below their closing price right before the company disclosed it was eliminating 1,000 newspaper jobs in a bid to boost the price. Those job cuts fueled an 11% rise the day they were disclosed. But shares have closed lower every day since:

  • Wednesday: before GCI confirmed layoffs: $19.26
  • Thursday: after layoffs confirmed: $21.31
  • Friday: $20.65
  • Monday: $19.54
  • Yesterday: 18.65
  • Today: $17.40

This could be a case of shares getting caught in Wall Street’s downdraft. Or, major investors might be cashing in on quick, short-term profits. Or, maybe the pros figured out that Gannett CEO — err, Chief Financial Officer Gracia Martore‘s latest bright idea won’t work, either.

[Image: Google Finance]

23 Responses to “Bear clawed: Gannett shares dive another 7%”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Aw, no bonuses this year for execs. Pity the suits, pity Tara Connell.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    They’ll find a way to get bonuses. Afterall, they just got rid of lots of useless scum who’ve been sucking up available money.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    1000 fewer employees= $65,000,000
    Change in pension plan= $41,000,000
    Closing Louisvilles cafeteria $100,000
    Craig and Gracia’s Bonus…. priceless (to them)

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Our only solace: A 3% drop today is less money down the tubes than a 3% drop last week …

    I’m personally waiting until the stock is around a penny a share, so I can buy the whole company.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Nothing magically changed by laying off a bunch of staffers. Investors realize the company still has huge downward momentum, led by executive leadership that has no clue how to turn things around.

    I mean honestly how long can the GCI board put up with this ship of fools?

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Apparently, a long time.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Where is the sort of creativity that made USA Today? These dolts running Gannett today have proved themselves inept and incompetent. To preserve what is left of this company, the board of directors need to make a clean sweep of the top managers, and hire a team that can ensure investors they will put Gannett on a sound financial footing.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    GCI down another $1.20, or more than 6 percent. Wow, Wall Street is really telling Gannett what it thinks of the ability of this team to run a company today, and it is very interesting how those views compare with a majority on this blog for the last week.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Mercifully, the trading day is over. Gannett closes down $1.25 at $17.40 on a volume of 6.9 million shares.

    Maybe rescinding the layoffs would give Gannett a much-needed bump. Maybe investing in the company, instead of depleting it of its “most valuable” resources, would give it a vital ingredient towards competing in the digital marketplace.

    Cutting its way to prosperity sure isn’t working. But, of course, Craig, Gracia, et al haven’t figured that out … even after two years of plummeting stock prices.

    The problem is, the board of directors are as complicit in GCI’s failure as Craig and Gracia. If the board really cared about the shareholders – and employees – it would have ousted Craig and Gracia months (years?) ago.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    @4:34p – absolutely correct. They are just as complicit in this mess as the inept ‘leadership’ team themselves.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Jim, Your mistaken keep posting Gannett’s stock price on a daily basis as some kind of comparison to the layoffs and Wall Street’s view of the move. I don’t like seeing people being layed off. I work at GCI and missed the layoffs this time (BTW I think there will be more; When? I have no idea). My point is that Gannett being one of largest newspapers in industry gets hit with any bad news. McClatchy today reported 16% + classified AD revenue for July. MORE IMPORTANTLY Gannett is on the Wall Street list as having one of the highest percentage short ratio’s of it’s shares float in market. In other words Gannett is an easy target to be shorted and shorts are profiting off it’s stock. When Gannett ran up 10% Thursday. Rest assured it was heavily shorted afterwards. I have no idea how far stock will go down but one day Gannett will pop for no reason in news other than a large short position is being covered. I also agree that Execs in McClean should be taking cuts and some layoffs and business decisions by management have been wrong. Having said that and also repeating I don’t like seeing anyone lose their jobs. In this economic/industry environment 3 Building Service Supervisors (all of them I think) were layed off as part of 23 from Indianapolis Star. Building service employees report to Pressroom Supervisors now. No disrespect to Building Service but how does laying off 3 Building Service Supervisors effect the quality content and production of the newspaper?

  12. Anonymous Says:

    My comment above I meant say McClatchy Classified AD revenue declined 16% for July. Sorry for misprint.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    The stock is just going to keep going down until it hits ZERO! All because of the morons that are running the show don’t know what they are really doing other than making six figures.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Seven figures in some cases.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    When we finish the transition to a brave new digital world with perhaps a few niche print products, the advertising model will be able to support perhaps one third of the news staff we have now. Circulation? It won’t be necessary. Make yourself as valuable as you can by learning video, HTML, etc., but don’t fool yourself into thinking GCI will owe us anything. For those who survive, it’s going to be a journalistic version of Mad Max.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Anonymous 8/20/2008 2:38 PM said…
    Where is the sort of creativity that made USA Today?

    Shown the door, of course. How do you let a titan like J Ford Huffman leave the fold? … sad.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    That’s a dumbass comment. The stock is not going down to zero. In fact I heard speculation about GCI getting bought if stock so low that it could be then taken apart. But I recently found out GCI has a poison pill that would make that move hard to do. Despite all the bad news GCI still made $225 mil last qtr and projected make $3.65 a share next year. Yes I know that sucks when they laying people off. My comments have nothing to do with that. I am talking about GCI stock is being priced and manipulated like the entire company is on verge of bankruptcy. GCI still has like a billion dollars in cash flow and EVEN in good time GCI management has ALWAYS! I repeat ALWAYS treated their employees like cattle and a debit on their profit sheet. So when things turn bad what the heck did anyone think gannett was going to do. I might add for some posters like one above. You supposed managers sure are ignorant to how the stock market and finnacials work. I repeat GCI stock is being heavily manipulated and is one of the top shorted stocks in market based on it’s % floated shares. When a stock goes down. It is just not sold. Investors short it (borrowing shares to bet on stock going down). The only way those SHORT investors can cash out their profit isto eventually buy those shorted shares (covering their short position). GCI has a dividend payment coming up in September and those short sellers will have to pay the long investors the dividend out of their paper short position. My point is the lower GCI goes without going green. The more pressure the stock will be shorted. Any kind of positive news in industry and you will see GCI stock rebound again with a 10% + one day surge. Just like last Thursday. It’s called a short squeeze. I actually bought some GCI stock today in anticipation of that possibility in my 401K. I will sell the stock if that pops occurs. Not for the risk averse but it is a legitimate play.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    8:22 is right. And the only way to turn around the situation is a change in fundamentals that will stabilize or improve long-term earnings per share. Or if the company splits itself up or bets the ranch on an acquisition or merger. Sadly, it might be time for that. Otherwise, it’ll be Dubow riding around on that interceptor from Mad Max in another few years, with the last ragged band of journalists in tow.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    Wish the stock would tank on Fridays when our matching is deposited in the 401K. Then rebound by the close on Monday when many sell.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Gannett’s stock price is falling because investors — and I mean the big institutional investors that drive price movements — have no faith in the newspaper industry, no faith in Gannett’s outmoded chain model and no faith in the current management’s ability to turn, replace or sell the ship. Gannett has fooled Wall Street too many times with all of its bogus talk of new initiatives and ventures, and now that nothing meaningful has panned out, investors have bailed out big-time. Gannett stock is now the fodder for vulture funds, value speculators and, who knows, maybe a takeover artist. It’s too damned shaky for anyone else. At some point, the dividend is going to take a big hit, and all those who own the stock for its yield will be bailing, too.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Anon @ 12:07pm said…”I mean honestly how long can the GCI board put up with this ship of fools?”

    In classic corporate fashion, Gannett circles the wagons when what they perceive to be as a personal attack on them. As the “attack” grows, Gannett wagons grow ever tighter in defensive posture, tighter and tighter they draw them in in the hope of repelling the “attack”, until, quite incredibly, the circle can no longer be held. Then the impenetrable circle disintegrates and you wonder what held them together in the first place? Well, that would be a disproportionate amount of salary, perks and benefits, all sanctioned by GCI’s board of directors.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    I’m a former Gannettoid and OC member. I now work for another media company in a new division specifically charged with innovation and to transform our business for the future.

    Where’s the innovation in Gannett these days? As a company that used to be considered on the cutting edge where’s the disruptive innovation at Gannett that will transform it into the future? Or does Gannett think it is the unsinkable Titanic?

    Side note – I sold all my options and former SIRs in 2004 when the stock was trading at $89. ;P

  23. Anonymous Says:

    Anonymous said…
    @4:34p – absolutely correct. They are just as complicit in this mess as the inept ‘leadership’ team themselves.

    Yep, I concur. Sad, but oh so true.

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