Thursday, July 02, 2009

Layoffs | Reasons why you're losing your job

[Chart shows $1.8 billion in Gannett stock repurchases]

Led by Chief Financial Officer Gracia Martore (left), and overseen by a series of feckless board members, Gannett spent $1.8 billion buying back its stock in 2005-2008, as shares were entering free-fall, public documents show. That contributed to crushing debt, IOUs that creditors are now using to force Martore and ailing Chairman and CEO Craig Dubow (below) to do their bidding.

I don't know about you, but I was selling shares during those years as quickly as Gannett deposited them in my 401(k) account as the company's match. Turns out, Gannett was buying -- at prices averaging $64 a share. (See, chart, above.)

Those total 28.4 million shares repurchased for $1.8 billion are now worth a mere $104 million at GCI's closing's stock price yesterday: $3.66.

Following is from Gannett's most recent two Forms 10-K, an annual report filed by publicly traded companies with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. They are available with virtually all the company's SEC filings in the investor relations section of GCI's website. A 10-K gives the most detailed public view of publicly traded companies such as Gannett. In the capital stock section in the Feb. 25 filing this year, the document says:

"In February 2004, the company announced the reactivation of its share repurchase program that had last been utilized in February 2000. On July 25, 2006, the authorization to repurchase shares was increased by $1 billion, and as of Dec. 28, 2008, approximately $808.9 million may yet be expended under the program."

The filing continues: "Shares may be repurchased at management’s discretion, either in the open market or in privately negotiated block transactions. Management’s decision to repurchase shares will depend on price, availability and other corporate circumstances. Purchases may occur from time to time and no maximum purchase price has been set. The company’s board of directors reviews the share repurchase authorization annually, the last such review having occurred in October 2008. Certain of the shares previously acquired by the company have been reissued in settlement of employee stock awards. For more information on the share repurchase program, refer to Item 5 of Part II of this Form 10-K."

The Form 10-K from Feb. 28, 2008.

Related: Martore hosts a teleconference with Wall Street analysts two weeks from today, when it reports its second-quarter financial results.

Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green rail, upper right.


  1. Since the company has not responded to the article that stated that the debt problem was going to sink the company I’m thinking that it is true.

  2. With today's stock free fall, the value has now dropped to $93.72 Million.

    The stock will continue to fall, and there will be little left for Gannett Co. Inc. to salvage, no matter how deeply they cut the workforce.

    This news "giant" will be falling.

    Gannett's Goliath has been slain. It's workers are the blood that is flowing from the open wounds.

    It's only a matter of time before the giant draws it's last breath, and the exhale will be the looming debt and it's inability to pay up.


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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