Monday, February 14, 2011

Mail | 'Ride till the landing, or parachute now'

Regarding Gannett's future, Anonymous@2:12 p.m. writes today:

The behavior of the company's management suggests nothing less than a drive to maintain profits all the way toward the ultimate dissolution of the company. There is no real growth plan and no real innovation. They will aim to satisfy shareholders until they can land the plane without blowing a few tires.

There is no turning around of print; there's only the discovery of where it will settle, which niche it will occupy. For digital, the winners are the companies that are not news companies -- the Googles, Twitters, Foursquares and so on. Journalism will survive in non-profits and academia and McDonald's-like Patch sites and books and niche products. But the general-interest newspaper and news site are done, a ghost. The Gannetteers who proudly served that product -- Phil Currie, John Quinn, Gary Watson, et al, those legends of Rochester and Rosslyn -- are through, and their era is over.

Ride till the landing or parachute now; either choice depends on your individual circumstances. But the end of this company is coming. I give it till 2015 max.

Earlier: Stripped to a "flying gas can," we start the final leg


  1. Excellent post, 2:12. Agree with most everything you say. My sense is the blood letting will continue at the lower rungs some time. The low hanging fruit will continue to be pruned. At some point, the balance between costs (employees) and cash flow will be achieved. I fear that balance won't be met until Gannett reduces headcount 40 to 50% from current levels. What's crazy is the buildup of workers for all the new initiatives that have yet to pan out.

  2. EXCELLENT POST? I thought that post sucked. This company out of business by 2015? Once again I disagree. I will also say as an employee of Gannett. I agree about the naysaying about management. Having said THAT. This board is full of disgruntled and ex-disgruntled employee's. Here's reality for you. GCI made $588 mil last year after making 65% less in 2009 albeit in mid $300 mil range during one of worst recession's ever. NOW back in 2004 GCI debt load was about $4.8 bil. It is now $2.3 Bil. With management stating that majority of profit is going to pay off that debt. I am no soothsayer. However if GCI continue's to make $500 mil next few year's (GCI projected make over $500 mil in 2011) that debt shrink's correct? I disagree about the fate of journalism and the fact is there will alway's be PRINT CONTENT. Hell site's like Huffington post etc.. Steal Print Content. Why Newpaper's have not sued for royalties is beyond my understanding. I could go on but I will point something out: When GCI stock was around $3.00 a share there was a posted story on this site from which went into detail's about derivative market shorting GCI stock. This article ran all kind's of number's trying to show that GCI bond holder's rather see company go bankrupt then survive. This article was a PLANT by short's in hindsight. It was posted on this blog with anonymous poster's saying you better sell at $3.00 a share in your 401K. I posted DON'T EVER MAKE A FINANCIAL DECISION from an anonymous poster off a blog! I was right holding onto my GCI 401K stock. Like it or not the stock restored my 401K losses. LOOK I agree about this company and the complaint's. Wall street however only want's profit's. YES print is slowing down but it's decline is also slowing. GCI is still making good money. I work on production side and there is other PRINT other than journalism print. It's called COMMERCIAL PRINT. Rural King come's to mind. If you look at financial's as Jim has pointed out. Mutual fund's are reinvesting in GANNETT. Why would they be doing that if company goes under in 2015. GCI has also extended it's debt out and increased it's credit facility's. I am not disagreeing about the print challenge's. I am arguing it's amazing that 2:12's comment's come's when GCI stock price is at $17 a share rather than $3.00. I remember when John Roger's of Ariel Capital doubled down on GCI stock making him the #1 shareholder. People laughed at Roger's on this site. Roger's Ariel has made million's. No doubt if I lost my job at GCI I be disgruntled. BUT hate and cheerleading a company's failure just to get even is not mentally healthy nor is it nice. Especially when co-worker's who sympathize with your plight still work there. It's amazing educated journalist, exec's etc... Are so naive when it come's to the company's financial's. I despise GCI's practices but I also match my 401K with the 5% GCI is matching me 100% with. It's freaking money! Just as Jim tries turn a profit here by selling AD's and asking for donation's. Anyone reading my post can disagree and take it like every other post on here anonymously. That is with a huge grain of salt! Just remember if you are retired or have a pension still in GCI. GCI goes under you may lose that! BTW I did not choose to work for GCI. GCI bought my newspaper. GCI own's 23 TV station's & also own's career builder which an analyst recently stated was worth $2 a share alone on GCI's share price!

  3. 1:50... who is paying you to post here?
    The company will be kaput by the end of 2012. Mark my words.

  4. 1:50. I appreciate your passion, but don't let it get in the way of facts. Gannett matches 6% of your salary - not 5%. The stock was as low as $1.93 a share - not $3. You're forgetting it was once around $90 just five years ago, before management found a way to take on excessive debt overpaying for properties such as Newsquest and the Arizona Republic. And buying back outstanding Gannett shares at exhorbitant prices. They wouldn't have as much debt now had that not taken place.
    The current business model, combined with the balance sheet, means that cutting is the way to profitability. There's nothing innovative about that - and that's why the stock has been stuck in a trading range the past few years. Unfortunately, the early posters are correct. Dire but correct. Management has to figure out how to keep reducing costs. Unfortunately, rank and file workers are the ones who suffer. Watch when the company's annual statement appears next month. See how Gracia, Dickey, Dubow, Hunke and others are rewarded with bonuses for the fine jobs they haven't done.

  5. 1:50. Wall Street analysts are shills. Listen in on any earnings call they have had with Martore and Dubow. The gibberish flows like an running toilet. The promises of better times are repeated quarter after quarter with little discernable result. Martore blames the weather for poor advertising. Dubow can't talk in a complete sentence to save his life. The analysts buy into their b.s. like sheep. And another 5,000 Gannett employees will be out of work to cover management's ineptitude.


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."

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.