Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ignoring McClatchy's lead, Gannett declares hefty dividend and adds new directors to its board

Days after announcing it was laying off ten percent of its employees, Gannett on Thursday declared a 40-cent-per-share dividend, and said it was adding two members to its board of directors.
Gannett Co. Inc. added two directors to its board Thursday, and again declared a 40-cent-per-share quarterly dividend, maintaining the higher level it set in the summer of 2007.

Some newspaper companies, notably The New York Times Co. and The McClatchy Co., have come under pressure to cut dividends and use free cash flow to pay down debt. Gannett raised its dividend 29% to 40 cents a share from 31 in July 2007, noting at the time it was the 39th time it had increased the dividend payout since going public in 1967.

The dividend declared Thursday is payable on Jan. 2, 2009, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Dec. 12, 2008.

Also Thursday, Gannett added two new directors effective immediately.
In September, McClatchy slashed its dividend by half, but that was apparently stipulated by McClatchy's lenders when McClatchy re-negotiated its debt in September.

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