Friday, February 04, 2011

Urgent: BlackRock jumps to GCI's No. 2 investor

BlackRock's disclosure came today in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The New York money manager says it had amassed a stake equal to 6.37% of Gannett stock, a total 15,227,104 shares, as of Dec. 31, the SEC filing shows.

BlackRock had previously disclosed a much smaller stake via BlackRock Institutional Trust Co.: 8,193,354 shares, or 3.4% of GCI's shares. That was as of Sept. 30.

The firm's emergence comes after two days of unusual trading in GCI shares that lifted the company's stock about 10%.

Based on the most recent data I can access, BlackRock would now rank as GCI's No. 2 investor, after JP Morgan Chase, which recently trimmed its stake to about 21.4 million shares, or 8.9% of all.

Under federal regulations, investors are required to notify the SEC when their ownership in a company exceeds 5%. Today's filing doesn't say when BlackRock bought its additional shares, or the price it paid. From Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, GCI traded between $11.76 and $15.78 a share, according to Google Finance. Today, GCI recently traded for $16.66, down less than 1%.

As of Sept. 30, BlackRock’s assets under management "total $3.45 trillion across equity, fixed income, cash management, alternative investment, real estate and advisory strategies," the company's website says.


  1. I'm a Gannett insider and I can understand why GCI shares are trading up. We're through the worst. Next year there's the Olympics and then there's another election around the corner. While staffers are not happy about Gannett's world class cost containment in the newspapers, any minor uptick in revenues will transform profits because the costs are now so low.

  2. 3:06: Well said. I, too, occasionally opine here in favor of the stock. This makes me a shill in the eyes of some, though they would be surprised to learn my background and true feelings about the company (as opposed to the stock).

    Whether he knows it, Jim has uncovered the reason for GCI's run-up in recent days. It wasn't BlackRock's reported buying, which happened before Dec. 31 (though they may still be accumulating more shares that will be reported at a future date). More than likely, though, the run-up in recent days is due to copycats who learned of BlackRock's buying and decided to follow the "smart money." As I've said before, GCI is fairly priced today at $25-ish. Good to see BlackRock agrees with a dope like me, who lives and works far from Wall Street.

    Never let your personal feelings get in the way of profits in stocks. Think tobacco companies are evil? Fine. Good for you. Buy the stocks of tobacco companies (which you're buying not from the companies, by the way, but from another holder who wants out of the stock)and then the executives of the companies are working for you. Then, you take your profits and donate them to anti-smoking causes. In this way, you make the jerks work for your cause and against their own.

    Every day, when Craig, Gracia et al wake up and go to work to bring the stock price up, they're working on my behalf, whether they like it or not. Then I can, if I choose, send Jim some money. Who says there's no justice?

  3. Liar.

    What about any minor uptick in expenses like newsprint? What does that do to the stock price, Mr. GCI Insider?

  4. So nice to see Craig and Gracia commenting on this blog within minutes of each other. I wonder if they did it from the same bedroom!

  5. Liar is totally uncalled for. That said, rising newsprint prices are, indeed, a big deal.

    Also, to reiterate, BlackRock's filing refers to shares as of Dec. 31 -- not this week. This week's jump may have been due to rumors about an investor's -- possibly BlackRock -- bigger position.

  6. @3.20 - strange comment. Why liar?

    An uptick in newsprint prices would be an unwelcome additional cost. But now that the company has done such an exceptional job at managing its overall cost base, just a very modest uptick in revenues will have a significant impact on the company's profits. And that uptick is likely to happen next year and the market is starting to recognise this.

  7. I am 3:19 p.m., and I am an English major from the Midwest who does not work for Gannett, has never met Craig or Gracia, does not want to meet them and would not take the opportunity to do so even if they knocked on the door of my one bedroom apartment and said, "Hi Mr. Gannett investor."

    Really, the level of anger,invective and tomfoolery here is extraordinary. Like I've said before here, bulls make money, bears make money and soreheads just go nowhere. If you believe GCI is headed for imminent doom, then short the stock and get rich.

  8. No matter how much some folks might hate Gannett and the people who run it, a company of its magnitude with the huge revenue it generates isn't going to disappear tomorrow.

    True, the revenue is going down, but it's still huge and the company generates one heck of a profit margin.

    I know, I know, the profit comes off the backs of the employees. The execs live the high life while cutting and trashing the community papers. There is no loyalty to workers or journalistic standards.

    I know, I know, all the execs care about is the bottom line, and they don't care how they achieve a favorable one.

    Soooo, don't just sit there and wait to be executed. Take classes, upgrade your skills, network for when the economy improves. There's no doubt that the community papers are going to see their staffs cut and cut some more.

    If their revenues don't justify expenses, there will be cuts.

    That said, I sold my Gannett stock back in the days when it was in the high $80s. That's a long time ago. I sold because the company had no vision, no innovators, and a lot of ass kissers. The situation has not improved.

    I will not buy Gannett, nor any other newspaper stock as I don't view them to be sound investments for MY purposes.

    It's my guess that you'll see GCI peak in late spring to around $20 or so per share and then hit the skids again.

    The elections and olympics are likely to boost broadcasting revenues, but have little impact on the community papers' revenues. It'll be a mixed bag like you have today.

    We'll have to wait and see.

  9. Could the recent push in the stock be due to other insty's getting wind of
    Black Rock's move, perhaps even Black Rock selling it to them?

  10. To Jimmy everyone us pissed about calling someone a liar but you let a post stand implying two folks are sleeping together. Love your standards.

  11. I just didn't believe that a Gannett insider would be posting that type information on a blog. If "liar" was too strong, I apologize.

    It's a death spiral. Cut expenses, water down the product, make it less valuable to advertisers, drive down readership, cut expenses, water down the product, etc.

    I disagree with Gannett's reactive cost cutting as opposed to investing in ideas and products that would make the company stronger. Gannett could have owned local internet advertising with some creativity and investment. Instead, Groupon, Facebook, Google, Yelp, Living Social and others are chipping away at the franchise. None of the aforementioned companies had piles of money sitting around to invest in their ideas. But they did have vision.

    In 2005 and 2006, Gannett was busy buying its own stock and increasing its dividend losing billions.


    July 25, 2006
    Washington Business Journal

    Gannett, whose board authorized a $1 billion stock buyback last year, will as much as double that.

    The board on Tuesday authorized the repurchase of an additional $1 billion in common stock. Gannett says it has already bought back a substantial portion of the $1 billion in stock authorized for repurchase in April 2005.

    Gannett also boosted its quarterly dividend by 2 cents per share to 31 cents, the 38th time the company has raised its shareholder dividend since going public in 1967. [Gannett raised the dividend again to 40 cents in 2007, and paid out at this level for six quarters costing the company $576 million.]

    "Together with this dividend increase, these actions by our board reflect our sound financial status and our ongoing desire to return value to shareholders," says Gannett CEO Craig Dubow.

    Gannett stock (NYSE: GCI) fell to a 52-week low Tuesday, down 96 cents to $52.04 per share. Gannett's shares have lost about 28 percent of their value in the last year.


    Lather. Rinse. Repeat.


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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