Magazine article Editor & Publisher

The New Single-Digit Newspaper Stock

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

The New Single-Digit Newspaper Stock

Article excerpt

Two events on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday seemed to sum up the woeful state of publicly traded newspaper companies.

First, shares of E.W. Scripps, newly minted as a newspaper and local broadcast company, began trading with a three-to-one reverse stock split. To what lofty level did this price-enhancing maneuver raise Scripps (NYSE: SSP) shares? At the end of the day, just $9.31.

Then shares of GateHouse Media Inc. (NYSE: GHS) traded below $1, entering the dreaded penny-stock territory. By the 4 p.m. EDT end of trading, GateHouse was priced at 97 cents -- which could get the stock barred from floor trading and even de-listing if it continues to close below a buck.

By falling to less than the cost of one of its Sunday newspapers, GateHouse shares followed three other publicly traded newspaper companies whose stock can be picked up for pocket change. Wednesday afternoon, Journal Register Co. (Other OTC: JRCO.PK) closed at 14 cents; American Community Newspapers (AMEX: ANE) ended at 20 cents; and Sun-Times Media Group (OTC BB: SUTM.OB) would set you back a whopping 35 cents.

It isn't just these exiles from the Big Board who have anorexic stock prices, though. Of the 13 publicly traded newspaper companies that E&P tracks, just four sell for more than $10 a share, and that's including the self-described "diversified education and media company" Washington Post Co., whose stock has long traded in the high $500s range. (Washington Post (NYSE: WPO) closed at $578. …

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