Gannett Joins Sweetened Dividend Bandwagon

By: E&P Staff

Gannett Co. announced Tuesday a sharp increase in its regular dividend, following the trend of newspaper companies hiking payouts to bolster stock value for shareholders.

McLean, Va.-based Gannett pushed its regular quarterly dividend by 29%, to 40 cents per share.

The nation’s largest newspaper chain noted that this is the 157th consecutive quarter it has paid out a dividend — and the 39th time it declared an increase since Gannett became a public company in 1967.

“Increasing our dividend, together with our ongoing share repurchase program, demonstrates the board’s commitment to returning value to our shareholders and maximizing total shareholder return,” Craig A. Dubow, chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement. “Our strong cash flow and financial position enable us to return more to shareholders while maintaining financial flexibility for investments and acquisitions consistent with our strategic initiatives.”

Since 2000, he added, Gannett has returned approximately $6.2 billion to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends.

The new annualized rate of $1.60 per share represents an average annual dividend growth rate of 11% since the company went public, Gannett said.

The quarterly dividend declared Tuesday is payable October 1, 2007 to shareholders of record on September 14, 2007.

In recent months, The New York Times Co. and community newspaper publisher GateHouse Media Inc. have announced significantly increased dividends.

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