Friday, December 30, 2011

Bulletin: GCI closes at $13.37, down 11% for year; but shares outperformed major publishing rivals

Gannett's stock just finished trading for 2011, a period when investor doubts about the industry's prosperity sent the company's shares on a roller-coaster ride -- ending with an 11.4% decline for the year.

Shares closed at $13.37. The year's decline from Dec. 31, 2010, seen across other major newspaper stocks, came despite a doubling in GCI's dividend and the first share buyback in years. Nonetheless, GCI outperformed five other companies with operations dominated by newspaper publishing.

Industry stocks lagged major market indexes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the year at 12,218, up 5.5%. The S&P 500, a broader measure of overall market activity, closed at 1,258, virtually unchanged. The technology-rich NASDAQ closed at 2,605, down 1.8%.

Early in the year, GCI's investors appeared optimistic. Shares hit a trading high of $18.93 on Feb 7. But a series of weak earnings reports showed more revenue declines. GCI slid with few interruptions, bottoming out at $8.28 on Sept. 22, according to Google Finance data. (Table shows historical stock prices.)

GCI's weakness is, of course, of particular concern for the company's top brass. Plus, it hits them especially hard in their wallets: Millions of stock options granted to them by the board of directors remain worthless so long as GCI trades below $15 a share. And those options are a large part of their annual compensation. (Table shows 2010 pay to company's six highest-paid executives.

The Big Board
Closing prices of major newspaper publishers today, with the change from Dec. 31, 2010:


  1. Even money that executive bonuses this year will be heavy on cash and RSUs, aka restricted stock, that guarantees they wont be prone to money losing stock options.

  2. Now there you go Jim an accurate and non bias sounding headline. Good job!

  3. To be truly accurate, you must adjust returns for dividends.

  4. 5:28 and what's wrong with that?

  5. The dividend used to be worth something, and shares did well. Why have both shrunk, along with revenues, earnings and some 20,000 jobs, yet Gannett's Management team continues to get bigger bonuses?


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