Friday, August 10, 2007

Dubow: No deal in the works

Responding to yesterday's Wall Street Journal report, CEO Craig Dubow is telling employees that GCI is not for sale, according to this Reuters story, and another moved by the Associated Press. "None of the bloggers called and checked with us before speculating that we were preparing for a sale," Dubow wrote in a memo obtained by Reuters. "We are not."

Dubow elaborated in the AP story: "What we were doing is making routine amendments to our bylaws and compensation plans," he said. "Many of these revisions were mandated by newly adopted IRS rules about deferred compensation."

My take: Gannett may already be in play as investors register disappointment over Dubow's statement; it quashed their hopes of big stock gains if the company was sold at a premium. GCI volume jumped today and shares traded as low as $43.79 -- a new 52-week low. Gannett shares are now trading at 1997 levels!

I don't have the Dubow memo cited in some of today's stories. But none of these reports quote Dubow saying "never, ever" going to happen. Indeed, should a deal be announced days, weeks or months from now, Dubow -- or his successor -- would likely say: Back on Aug. 10, we were telling the truth; there was no deal in the works at the time. He'll then go on to say that, since then, market conditions have changed, new opportunities arose, etc., etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.

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