Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lee stock closes at $1; worse to come?

Lee shares closed at $1 today, after falling as low as 90 cents. (On Tuesday, the stock hit 86 cents during trading.) All week, Lee stock have been flirting with penny-stock territory, and it seems determined to stay there. Lucky for Lee, the markets are closed Thursday for Thanksgiving.

A report from Morningstar says the day's 90-cent low could end up being a high, and warns the stock will drop much further. Morningstar lowered its “fair value estimate” for Lee stock from $2 a share to zero. Yep, zero.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Stock advice: Sell!

Matrix Lighthouse Research says Lee's shares are overvalued and downgrades the stock to sell status. At 3 p.m. EST, stock is bouncing up and down, now at $1.26.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Star-Tribune shrinks web width

The Star-Tribune in Casper, Wyo., slimmed down on Monday: Pages are now 11-inches wide, vs. 12.5-inches last week. Smaller web width means less money spent on newsprint. Editor Chad Baldwin says the paper was redesigned so readers won't see a "reduction in news." Anyone herad of reader complaints?

More Lee papers should be converting to a smaller web soon.

North County Times lays off 34

The North County Times in Escondido, Calif., laid off 25 newsroom employees, and 9 more from circulation and advertising on Tuesday. In September, the paper laid off 10 people. Publisher Peter York pointed out "We're not losing money, but we're not doing as well as we ought to." Not losing money, just jobs.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tributary closes

The Tributary, a monthly magazine in Bozeman, Mont., is closing. December will be the last issue for the Lee Enterprises publication. One editor and one sales rep will lose their jobs. The Tributary had a circulation of 7,000.

Junck nominated as a Grinch

Lee Enterprises CEO Mary Junck was nominated for the St. Louis Area Jobs with Justice Grinch of the Year by the St. Louis Newspaper Guild for outsourcing jobs and ending retirees medical coverage.

Other nominees: 
  • Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson
  • Western Union
  • ABM Lakeside
  • Sen. Kit Bond

Contract violation at Post-Dispatch?

The St. Louis Newspaper Guild reports that Lee Enterprises is violating its contract with St. Louis Post-Dispatch retirees over free lifetime medical coverage. They don't really say what's happening, though, or how the contract has been violated. Anyone have details? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail:

More cuts predicted

"Newsosaur" Alan Mutter took a look at Lee's earnings and predicts "draconian expense cutting." We're in good company. His list also includes other profitable by not profitable enough companies: GateHouse Media, Journal Register, McClatchy and Tribune Co.

Friday, November 14, 2008

4th quarter report out

The results of the (preliminary) 4th quarter report:
  • Net profit fell 73 percent
  • Net income was $5.4 million, down from $20 million a year ago
  • Revenue fell 13 percent
  • Advertising revenue dropped 15 percent
Watch out, folks. CEO Mary Junck said the company plans to reduce next year's operating expenses by 6 to 7 percent.

Lee Agri-Media: Enterprise of the year

On Thursday, Lee Agri-Media was named Lee's enterprise of the year. Lee Agri-Media, a network of 14 farm newspapers and sites over 13 states, was honored for "record growth in revenue and cash flow for the fifth year in a row." It has been an enterprise of year finalist three times in the past four years.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

4th-quarter earnings preview

Fourth-quarter earnings come out today. AP speculates things you already know:
Lee is expected to report lower profit and revenue in the quarter that ended Sept. 30 than it did a year earlier amid a prolonged advertising downturn at newspapers.
Interesting that when the third quarter ended on June 30 stock was at $3.99. When the fourth quarter ended on Sept. 30, stock was at $3.50. Right now it's down to $1.40.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lee shares close at $1.95

Lee stock closed below $2 today. This cannot be a good sign. Other chains are already making post-election layoffs; can Lee be far behind?

There's a lively discussion over at Sports Journalists about Lee's future.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

2 more laid off at Post-Dispatch

An update on the layoffs from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Washington reporters Phil Dine and Deirdre Shesgreen have declined transfers that were offered to them after we decided to reduce the bureau to one as part of our staff cuts. We would have been excited to have them join our staff here in St. Louis because they are excellent reporters. We and our readers will miss their work. Please join us in wishing them well. Their last day is Friday.

Previous Post-Dispatch news and layoffs

Got a Lee Watch tip like this one? Anonymous comments and e-mails ( welcome.

Lee stock hits new all-time low

Lee stock dropped nearly 13.5 percent on Tuesday, closing at $2. During the day, it hit an all-time low: $1.88.

On Wednesday, it closed at $2.10. Find real-time stock prices in the sidebar.