Lee Enterprises to Take Write-Down

By: E&P Staff

Lee Enterprises said today that it expects to take a non-cash impairment charge in the range of $500 million to $700 million for the quarter ending March 30, 2008.

The write-down will reduce the value of intangible assets and newspaper mastheads as well as reported earnings per share for the quarter ending March 30 and 2008.

“We believe the current stock price understates the value of our company, as well as the future of our industry,” Mary Junck, chairman and CEO of Lee, said in a statement. “Although accounting rules require us to reflect these charges in our financial statements, we remain positive about the future of our business and prospects for continued growth when the current economic downturn subsides. Our own projections of the future cash flows of Lee are far superior to the expectations reflected in our stock price today.”

Lee is one of the last holdouts to take goodwill charges. Several of its peers, including McClatchy, The New York Times Co., Gatehouse Media, and Gannett took non-cash impairment charges mainly due to earlier acquisitions and Wall Street driving down share prices. Lee acquired the Pulitzer Co. for $1.4 billion in 2005.

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