Newspaper Stocks Follow Dow Jones Off The Cliff

By: Mark Fitzgerald

Investors sold off Dow Jones & Co. stock Monday as reports surfaced that too few Bancroft family shares would vote for Rupert Murdoch’s rich $60-a-share bid — and for good measure, they hammered down prices in the rest of the newspaper sector, too.

After trading off as low as 8% during the day, Dow Jones (NYSE:DJ) closed at 4 p.m. EDT at $51.56, down $2.89, or 5.31%. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Bancroft family members were offering just 28% of the overall voting share in favor of the News Corp. deal. Later in the day, a News Corp. spokesman was quoted as saying it was “highly unlikely” Murdoch would pursue the deal with such soft support. News Corp. said it needs at least 30% of the stake from the Bancrofts to swing the deal.

The market bid up News Corp. (NYSE:NWS-A) 22 cents, or 1.05%, to $21.27.

McClatchy (NYSE:MNI) got hammered again by the Street, which sent its stock tumbling down $1.20, or 4.65%, to $24.59.

Another big percentage loser was Sun-Times Media Group (NYSE:SVN), which fell 16 cents, or 3.56%, to close at $4.34.

Gannett Co. (NYSE:GCI) fell to a new 52-week low Monday, dropping 49 cents, or 1.01%, to $48.14.

Lee Enterprises was also down, closing off 24 cents, or 1.32%, to $17.98.

Among the handful of gainers on the day was community newspaper publisher GateHouse Media Inc. (NYSE:GHS), which reversed two straight trading days of losses by gaining 30 cents, or 1.80%, to $17.01.

Tribune Co. (NYSE:TRB) continued to march in the opposite direction of the sell-off. For the third consecutive trading day, it eked out a small gain, on Monday rising 7 cents, or 0.25%, to $28.07.

E.W. Scripps (SSP) gained 32 cents, or 0.78%, to end the day at $41.35.

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