Journal Register Stock Plummets On Bankruptcy Report

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Journal Register Co. stock, which already risks delisting because of its low price, fell off the cliff in trading Monday, tumbling 63% in value an hour before the close of markets.

Journal Register (NYSE: JRC) traded at 19 cents at 2:55 p.m. EDT, down 33 cents, or 63.4% off its opening.

The troubled Yardley, Pa.-based company, publisher of the New Haven (Conn.) Register and 21 other dailies confirmed Monday that it has hired financial advisor Lazard Freres & Co. LLC to “explore strategic options.”

Although Journal Register did not say so explicitly one of those options is filing for bankruptcy to get out from under its debt.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Journal Register suggested it’s situation is not as dire as has been portrayed.

It quoted Chairman and CEO James W. Hall as saying, “While we are concerned about the state of the overall economy and the environment for print advertising, we generated $90.3 million of EBITDA in 2007, well in excess of our $38.5 million interest expense, reduced debt by $105 million during 2007 and have no scheduled principal payments due until the second quarter of 2009.”
In recent days, Journal Register has been warned it risks delisting by the New York Stock Exchange because its stock has traded for more than a month below $1 a share, and its market capitalization has averaged below the $75 million minimum for Big Board listing.

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