Lee Enterprises Back in Big Board Listing Compliance

By: MarK Fitzgerald With its share price buoyed by the summer rally in newspaper stocks, Lee Enterprises said Monday it now complies with all standards for continued listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Last December, as its share price fell below the NYSE minimum listing price of $1, Lee was notified it was in danger of being delisted from the exchange, where it has traded since 1978. Lee trades under the symbol LEE.

On Friday another publicly traded newspaper company, The McClatchy Co., said it was notified that it was now in compliance with listing standards. McClatchy, which trades under the symbol MNI, had been warned of separate delisting possibilities for falling below the share-price minimum and the minimum for market capitalization and shareholder equity.

In both cases, the companies were helped to stay listed because NYSE has temporarily eased its listing standards for both price and market capitalization as many stocks fell out of technical compliance in the financial meltdown that began last September.

Under the old standards in effect last year, three newspaper companies -- Sun-Times Media Group, Journal Register Inc. and GateHouse Media Inc. -- were delisted by NYSE.

"As we have noted previously, we believe the long-term prospects for our company remain strong and will become increasingly apparent to investors as the recession begins to recede," Lee Chairman and CEO Mary Junck said in a statement.

Minutes after trading began Monday, Lee stock was at $1.80 a share, up 5 cents, or 2.9%, from the open. It has traded in a 52-week range of 24 cents to $3.97 a share. Its market capitalization was an indicated $80.86 million.

For more details on the listing compliance notifications of Lee and McClatchy check out E&P's business-oriented Fitz & Jen blog.


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