Lee Enterprises has a newspaper monopoly in Montana’s larger towns, but thankfully the slow death of brick-and-mortar papers is coming to a quicker end. The Montana Daily Gazette reportedly recently on the state’s newspaper publications ‘lying and dying,’ as Lee Enterprises has moaned out more than a few death rattles in mass lay-offs and decreased production. But now, the monopoly’s horrific downturn in profits has lead to an all-new omen of the end for liberal paper publications.
As written about in the above-linked piece, citing original work by one of Montana’s alternative media gurus, Jim White, “The Billings Gazette is certainly hemorrhaging. According to the publication, it had to cut two of its major news management positions…the newspaper also scuttled much of its opinion pieces, scaling back to just several days a week.”
The Billings Gazette claimed that its owner, Lee Enterprises, “has struggled to weather the transition of readership from print to digital” and saw “a 12.5 percent decrease in total revenue from its properties compared to the previous year, even as digital revenue rose slightly.” Lee Enterprises owns five newspapers in Montana including the Billings Gazette, The Missoulian, The Montana Standard, the Helena Independent-Record, and the Ravalli Republic in Hamilton.
It turns out, Lee Enterprises’ profits are affecting its stock performance and are doing it so dramatically that they just received a warning from the New York Stock Exchange that they’re about to de-listed as a tradeable company.
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) informed Lee Enterprises last week – May 12 – that it “had not maintained an average closing share price of over $1 for a 30-trading day period.” Additionally, Lee Enterprises also had failed to maintain an average global market capitalization over a consecutive 30 trading-day period of at least $50 million or keep shareholders’ equity above $50 million.
In other words, Lee Enterprises is not turning a profit and does not have holdings large enough to continue being traded at NYSE.
Lee purchased its newspapers for $1.46 billion only 15 years ago, and now it isn’t worth 50 million to its stockholders. As “traditional” liberal newspaper publications like Lee Enterprises continue to hemorrhage money and will soon be scuttled into obscurity, online publications with more editorial freedom will soon take their place.
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