By: Lucia Moses
Times Mirror move
Times Mirror Co.’s plans to unload some of its weaker assets to focus on its core businesses has some Wall Street analysts still wondering about the company’s long-term growth strategy.
Times Mirror, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, plans to sell its professional training, software, and health information units, as well as a sports magazine and companion Web site. The move is expected to boost earnings in 2000.
Times Mirror also will complete a complex transaction with the Chandler Trusts that will result in fewer shares outstanding and lower dividend payments.
Lauren Rich Fine of Merrill Lynch says the asset sales should generate at least $400 million. “It certainly has the nice effect of putting window dressing on earnings, but doesn’t do anything to affect long-term earnings,” she says.
While she continues to recommend Times Mirror stock to investors, she says her confidence in the company’s ability to buy properties and turn them around is “a little shaken.”
Analysts such as Steve Barlow of Credit Suisse First Boston are looking for revenue growth at the Times, the company’s main profit driver.
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