The Future of Print

Newspaper share value fell 83% or $64B in ’08

Posted in Doom by futureofprint on January 2, 2009

In the worst year in history for publishers, newspaper shares dropped an average of 83.3% in 2008, wiping out $64.5 billion in market value in just 12 months.

The debacle was widespread and thoroughgoing, as detailed below. Here are some highlights from the data:

:: The shares of eight of the 14 publishers tracked in the survey fell by 90% or more. The best-performing companies were the Washington Post Co., New York Times Co., and News Corp., but WaPo, the least battered issue of all, still fell 51.5%.

:: While market capitalization surpassed $1 billion for all but one of the 13 publishers that were publicly traded at the end of 2004, only four publishers today are valued at $1 billion or more. The New York Times Co. is barely clinging to the distinction. A drop of as just a few cents per share would knock NYT out of the increasingly exclusive billion-dollar bracket.

:: The biggest loser of all was Tribune Co., which is worthless as the result of the bankruptcy filed less than 12 months after Sam Zell bought its shares for $8.2 billion to take the company private.

:: Trading for pennies, the shares of GateHouse Media, Journal Register Co. Lee Enterprises and Sun-Times Media Group are essentially worthless. GHSE, JRCO and SUTM all were banished to the Pink Sheets earlier this year when their shares fell below the rule at the New York Stock Exchange that prohibits an issue from closing below $1 per share for 30 days in a row.

via Reflections of a Newsosaur: Newspaper share value fell $64B in ’08.


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