[Specimen of a Gannett stock certificate]
Last month, Corporate announced plans to buy back another $300 million worth of Gannett stock over the next two years, adding to the $53 million spent last year to repurchase 4.9 million shares.
Last year’s shares cost an average $11 each -- a good investment, considering GCI closed yesterday at $14.41 a share. And that doesn’t factor in the savings reaped by not paying dividends on those shares.
But Corporate’s longer term record on repurchases remains abysmal.
It paid $1.8 billion for 28.4 million shares during an earlier buyback campaign, in 2005-2008 -- a period when the company piled up billions in debt that sent the company skittering toward bankruptcy during the financial crisis. Those shares cost an average $64 a each, according to annual 10-K reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.. Today, they’re worth just $409 million.
Last year's repurchases brought the total to 33.3 million shares, and an overall average cost of $56 each.
Here’s a table showing the history of buybacks (and a bigger, easier-to-view version):
For the fifth consecutive year, GCI shares lag rest of industry.