Media Blog

Newspapers’ Funeral Dirge

Third verse, same as the first:

The Washington Post newspaper division (the Post itself and a small paper in Everett, Washington) recorded a first quarter operating margin of 0.6 percent. That is break-even, more or less. Fortunately for the Washington Post company, earnings at its Kaplan education, cable television and local broadcast groups brought overall operating earnings to more respectable 9 percent.
Within the last two months Journal Register and MediaNews have given notice they will no longer file financial reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. As Journal Register shares traded well below a dollar, the company has been delisted from the New York Stock Exchange and has engaged an investment bank to “restructure” the company through bankruptcy or some other device to ease debt payments. In essence, it is not a public company anymore. MediaNews, an aggressive acquirer of newspapers until last year, is also highly leveraged with debt.  Though not a public company, it has regularly reported quarterly results. But no more. Our farewell visit to the company’s financials in mid-February showed it operating on a thin margin, especially if you consider how much of earnings must be used to make interest payments.

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