Finally, some good news for Lee Enterprises, parent of the Racine Journal Times.
The company has gotten off the New York Stock Exchange's endangered list. Lee was warned last December that its stock risked de-listing by the stock exchange, for falling afoul of two important requirements: a $1 per share price and a total market capitalization of at least $25 million. Many other companies had fallen below those standards as well, and the NYSE temporarily relaxed its requirements.
But today Lee announced that it is fully back in compliance. The company's stock (LEE), which had fallen to a jaw-dropping low of 24 cents per share in March, is now solidly over $1: it reached a high of $2.40 in August, but the important metric is that it's been over $1 since early in July -- more than the 30-day period required by the NYSE. Today, Lee is at $1.84 per share.
The company's market cap, which at its low hit $12 million, is today at $82 million.
Lee is not out of the woods. As with other print media dealing with the effects of major advertising declines blamed on the internet and the general economic collapse, Lee still has major debt to deal with, stemming from its $1.4 billion purchase of the Pulitzer newspapers in 2005. In February, Lee restructured $306 million of that debt; it now has $502 million due in 2012, on which it is paying about 9% interest.