July 11, 2008

Lee's second-largest investor bails...

Speaking of the stock market -- as we were in the previous post -- there's more bad news today for Lee Enterprises, parent of the Journal Times and 50 other dailies, including the Wisconsin State Journal in Madision.

Yes, Lee's stock is still down -- it's at a 28-year-low -- although unchanged this morning at $3.34 per share, up from its $3.16 low earlier this week. But the news is that Lee's second-largest shareholder, FMR LLC, a Boston investment company that had held a 13.12% stake in the company, has sold all but 1.2%. Putting those percentages against Lee's 44.9 million outstanding shares, means FMR has sold approximately 5.3 million shares. Just a year ago, those shares were worth $112 million; today, they'd bring just $17 million. Ouch!

(Of course, the stock market being what it is, somebody had enough confidence in Lee to buy all those shares FMR sold... )

Lee is, by no means, the only newspaper company having an
annus horribilis, as the Queen might put it. Two other chains also hit all-time lows this week, and three more are at their lowest point in over a decade. Newspaper junkies go HERE for the details. The rest of you, go out and buy a paper, even if just for the horoscope and crossword puzzle, or to train the puppy on.


  1. I know the Journal Times is a just a small part of Lee Enterprises. I understand that their actions have little effect on the price of stock.

    One would think, though, that instead of pushing away their readers and blog contributors, they would have embraced them. Very bad move on their part... just my opinion.

    Newspapers need to understand that traditional "Business as Usual" tactics will no longer fly in this technical world. They need to embrace new ideas.

  2. There are many other alternative media for news and information, and this one here is part of it. But it also relates to a credibility problem that they have been having. But I think this happening not only in the print media, but with the bring three networks. I think the public has long been trying to tell them something that the media has been ignoring, but their investors are starting to catch on to: Report the news and events, but don't try to shape or influence them.