Magazine article Editor & Publisher

What the Story Says

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

What the Story Says

Article excerpt

The unflattering story that apparently prompted Don E. Marsh to halt his ad buys was published in the Feb. 1-7 edition of the Indianapolis Business Journal under a headline, "The price of independence."

The article is laid out across the top of Page One under a subhead, "As other grocers merge, some shareholders wonder if Marsh values them." A graph shows the three-year growth of Marsh stock was 11% compared with 108% and 111% for two standard stock indexes.

The front-page portion of the lengthy story, before the jump, says:

Shareholders of Marsh Supermarkets Inc. sat on the sidelines the last three years as the biggest bull run in market history sent the price of most grocery stocks soaring.

Shares of major U.S. supermarket chain Safe-way Inc. skyrocketed 378%. Shares of Kroger Co. jumped 248%, and those of Supervalu Inc. rose 81%.

Marsh's nonvoting common stock, on the other hand, ended the three year period up just 11%.

"Obviously, there's something wrong there - the dividend hasn't changed at all in years and, my God, the stock sells for ridiculous multiples," said Murray R. Fisher, a Marsh shareholder. "I give [company executives] credit for being as civic-minded as they are, but they have not been fair to shareholders. …

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