Friday, October 19, 2012

Ala., Vt. are latest to plan real estate sales

Newspapers in Vermont and Alabama have announced plans to downsize, as Gannett continues shrinking its physical plants to reflect smaller workforces. Details:
  • The Montgomery Advertiser has hired a broker to sell its downtown building; the production plant isn't part of the deal, however.
  • The Burlington Free Press plans to sell seven of 12 buildings it owns downtown, but plans to remain as a tenant. They total about 55,700 square feet, but the paper’s newsroom and business operations now require only about 10,000 square feet.
In June, CEO Gracia Martore told Wall Street analysts that GCI had more than $100 million in real estate on the market, including one property for more than $20 million. She didn't identify that property, however, but it may have been buildings housing The Des Moines Register.


  1. Everything is for sale! Were the hell have you all been. The whole dam company is for sale. Wake up people

  2. The sky is not falling, despite what the previous commenter would have you believe.

    However, even though much Gannett real estate is technically not on the market, if someone were to inquire about buying any piece of it, they'd listen.

  3. Jim:
    Where are the proceeds from the sale of buildings going? To the company treasury? To be paid out in dividends or in executive bonuses?

    Does the money remain on the company balance sheet, or not? Do the shareholders realize that the equity in the company is, if this is true, reduced? Or are the only real shareholders left Index Funds and insiders?

  4. Next to cutting staff, asset sales are Martore's favorite task.

  5. It only makes sense to sell a lot of these properties. They aren't needed for current or future operations. Many have appreciated nicely over the 30 to 70 years that Gannett has owned them. The cash goes to the general treasury but since money is fungible, you could say it's paying dividends, reporters' salaries, executive bonuses, sales commissions or investments in new ventures.

  6. The Greenville SC News also announced recently its building is up for sale. Any idea what's going on?

  7. TWELVE buildings?? What do they do in there - bottle maple syrup?

  8. Since VT is so small, maybe up there a building IS an office?

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. 3:52 To the best of my knowledge, the company hasn't said publicly what it plans for the proceeds from these real estate sales.

    But in general, free cash has been used to reduce debt, buy back shares, fund higher dividends and invest in smaller digital businesses.

  11. Here's an edited version of 10:42's comment:

    3:52 p.m. In finance, the assets of the company and the liabilities of the company must equal the shareholder equity.

    The company is shrinking. We are wisely paying down debt. As liabilities shrink, so must the assets, or it invites a hostile takeover by a firm or person, who could take over and sell the tangible assets to pay for the purchase. That would mean less for employees and much less for us who run the company.

    What does that mean for you, presumably as an employee? It's a smaller company. Deal with it. If you don't like it, polish your resume. In the meantime, show up and work tomorrow.

  12. Paying down debt is laudable, but if it is a goal, it should be publicly stated, not assumed.Remember what happened to the money "saved" from the layoffs and buyouts-instead of going into the company for reinvestment and debt reduction. Instead it went into the pockets of Craig Dubrow and his peers, winning the criticism of Forbes magazine, which agreed that money should have been spent on the company, not five failed individuals.
    Let us hope lightening doesn't strike twice with the proceeds from the sale of this real estate. Of course this isn't the best market to sell real estate in, either.


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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