The newspaper industry isn’t what is used to be. With the rise of digital news, the industry finds itself losing customers, and investors alike. This week, news came down that JPMorgan Chase & Co. has reduced its stake in Gannett Co., the country’s biggest newspaper publisher and the owner of USA Today.
It remains Gannett’s largest shareholder, but reported today in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it now owns 8.9 percent, down from 10.2 percent at the end of April. The number of Gannett shares it holds is down to 21.4 million. Since April 30, Gannett’s stock has slipped 13 percent. It closed up 20 cents, or 1.4 percent, at $14.86 in trading Monday.
Although battered, Gannett has managed to remain profitable by cutting costs. Earlier this month, it told non-union employees in its biggest division that they would have to take a week off without pay to avoid layoffs. The furlough will affect workers at the 81 Gannett newspapers that make up Gannett’s U.S. community publishing division. Gannett’s 23 television stations have seen ad spending recover as businesses have spent more on commercial time and political campaigns flooded the airwaves with ads. But its biggest source of revenue — print advertising — continues to shrink, even as the rate of decline slows.
As the firm prepares to disclose their fourth quarter earnings results, investors will anxiously await the results, to see if the proactive measures the firm has take will provide the boost many hope to see.