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GANNETT NEWS

Analysts expect another poor quarter


Gannettoid.com | news@gannettoid.com | Posted: July 15, 2009 • Afternoon update


Read an update of this story here: Gannett News

When Gannett presents its second-quarter report to Wall Street today, analysts are expecting to hear more poor numbers.

Followers will also be looking for a preview of reports in the weeks ahead as more media companies will follow. The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI) has scheduled a July 21 report and The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) has scheduled a July 23 report.

According to an Associated Press analysis of the company, "Gannett is perhaps the most financially sound company in the newspaper business, with debt at apparently sustainable levels and operations that are still profitable."

That doesn't mean all is well at GCI. The publisher of USA Today and 83 other daily newspapers recently began a round of layoffs (not yet completed) it estimated at 1,400 throughout its newspaper division, implemented wages cuts throughout the broadcast division, two to three weeks of unpaid time off in both divisions, the essential closing of the Tucson Citizen and, according to Forbes, the closing of the Detroit Free Press (the story has now been corrected to say cutbacks at the Free Press).

Granted, that last one is news to Detroit and Gannett, but the Gannett-owned Free Press and its joint operating agreement partner, The Detroit News, did cut down on delivery days in March.

Lee Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: LEE) reported second-quarter losses May 7, with its second-quarter fiscal period ending in March. The company that owns the St. Louis Post Dispatch and 52 other dailies in 23 states closed Tuesday up a penny at 54 cents a share.

Follow along on Gannett's Webcast (SOURCE)

To access the conference call, call (800) 776-0816, or (913) 312-0938 for international callers, at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled 10 a.m. start time. The confirmation code is 5435434. A replay will be available about two hours after the call, according to Gannett. The confirmation code is also needed for the replay.

Will Gannett answer the following questions?

Former Gannett Blog publisher Jim Hopkins started a thread Tuesday on the Gannettoid Forum with questions for interim CEO Gracia Martore. Members of the media and the general public may only listen to the call, and not ask questions, but here are questions from the Forum for the checklist:

1.) Will you concede that the stock buyback you engineered has helped bring Gannett to the point of bankruptcy? Background: Gannett Blog archive

2.) Will you and other members of the Gannett Management Committee continue to take your bonuses entirely in cash? If so, why should employees and other investors continue to hold shares of Gannett stock? Background: Gannett Blog archive

3.) Is there a plan to adjust compensation levels of managers and corporate officers to match performance results? Will these be eliminated?

4.) What is the plan for Gannett to meet its debt repayment obligations?

5.) Does corporate management realize that gutting newspaper content also guts digital content? If there are no more reporters, there's nothing being reported on the Web, right?

6.) Is there a long-term strategy in place to deal with the changing marketplace, or are plans more reactionary?

7.) Right-sizing ... that's all we've heard for two years. Is there an end goal you can share with us?

8.) Please explain some short-term and long-term goals for the company?

Gannett's stock rebounded from March lows over the second quarter, rising $1.37 to $3.57, according to the AP story. The stock closed Tuesday at $3.49.


TRACK LAYOFFS HERE | DISCUSS EARNINGS REPORT HERE

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