Big Board Shrugging Off ‘Star Trib’ Sale

By: Mark Fitzgerald

At the New York Stock Exchange mid-morning, Wall Street’s reaction was just a yawn to The McClatchy Co.’s surprise dumping of the Star Tribune to create a tax-advantaged loss.

Shares of publicly traded stock barely moved in either direction, with Gannett Co. (NYSE: GCI) moving ahead narrowly, while Tribune Co. (TRB) and Belo Corp. (BCC) were down slightly. GateHouse Media Inc. (GHS), an aggressive newspaper acquirer recently, was up slightly on its opening.

McClatchy (MNI) stock itself was down a bit after gaining slightly on its opening. At 10:48 EST, it was down 7 cents, or 0.16% to $43.00. In the last year, it has traded as high as 59.64 and as low as $38.80.

Tribune has put itself up for sale, and investors would seem to be watching the effect the loss-making sale of a big paper like the Star Tribune of Minneapolis would have on its own portfolio of metro dailies. But at 10:51 EST, it was down modestly from its opening, off 13 cents or 0.41% to $31.62.

Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain, traded at $60.80 at 10:54 EST, up 56 cents or 0.9%.

GateHouse, which has acquired dozens of newspapers this year and is expected to strike at least one more deal before the year ends, was trading at $18.69 at 10:55 EST, up 4 cents or 0.21%. Since its initial public offering (IPO) in late October, GHS has traded in a range of $17.87 to $22.25.

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