Thursday, 20 November 2008

A depressing analysis


If my colleague Glenn Dyer did not depress those still with jobs in the media enough yesterday with his piece in Crikey headlined "UK Media slashing jobs, looking to the future", then perhaps this will do the trick. Last week at the American Press Institute’s closed-door summit of 50 of the top newspaper executives from around the country, says a report I read this morning, James Shein, a turnaround specialist and professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, asked executives to calculate their company’s Altman Z-scores, which can help identify how close a company is to bankruptcy. A score above three is the accepted safe range. Shein said only one company was above that measure. EW Scripps Co. has a Z-score of 3.78, according to Bloomberg.

Writes John Templon of the Medill newsagency:

Lee Enterprises Inc., which publishes The Times of Northwest Indiana and the St. Louis Post Dispatch, has a Z-score of .56 and the Sun-Times Media Group Inc., which publishes the Chicago Sun-Times and a large number of community newspapers in the Chicago area, has a Z-score of minus 1.02.

McClatchy Co., which publishes The Miami Herald and 29 other daily papers, has a Z-score of .32. The company's stock "could be worthless," according to a report by Chicago-based Morningstar Inc.

"McClatchy has struggled under the multiple weights of declining revenues, high debt, outsized exposure to troubled housing markets, and the continuing shift of readers and advertisers from print to online," said equity analyst Tom Corbett in a report issued on Friday. "Given the persistence and severity of these conditions, we think equity shareholders are at risk of losing the entire value of their investment."

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