Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gannett Slashes Dividend 90%,
To Save $325 Million/Year

Gannett Co. slashed its quarterly dividend 90% to 4 cents a share in an effort to strengthen its balance sheet, following the steps of other media companies in curtailing payments to shareholders.

Newspapers have been hammered in recent years by the rise of the Internet, coupled with a sluggish advertising market. Now, the economic crisis threatens to be a mortal blow to some publishers. Four newspaper owners have filed for bankruptcy protection since December, and privately held Hearst Corp. warned Tuesday it may have to close the San Francisco Chronicle if it isn't able to slash costs at the paper within weeks.

The dividend cut by Gannett - the nation's largest newspaper publisher and the parent company of USA Today - will save the company more than $325 million a year.

Shares dropped 6.1% to $3.52 in after-hours trading and have lost 82% of their value since August. [Click for MORE]

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