Tribune, McClatchy Announce Stock Buybacks

Buffeted by declining share prices, two of the nation’s largest newspaper publishers, Tribune Publishing and McClatchy Co., are moving to bolster investor confidence with stock buybacks. The transactions include purchase by executives, in a show of personal commitment to their companies.

Tribune Publishing has authorized a $30 million stock buyback over the next two years, the company’s flagship Chicago Tribune reported earlier this week. As part of the buyback, Tribune CEO Jack Griffin bought 20,000 shares at a price of $11.26 per share. The Chicago Tribune notes that the company’s stock price has fallen by over half since its spinoff from Tribune Media as an independent company in August 2014.

At its peak in December 2014 Tribune was trading at $23.73.



Although Tribune is still contending with the same print ad declines affecting the rest of newspaper industry, Griffin held out hope that it is turning a corner in its transition to a digital media company.

“Tribune Publishing's board of directors and senior management believe the company is making significant progress in its transformation strategy. The stock repurchase program announced today demonstrates our confidence in our Company and underscores our commitment to delivering shareholder value,” he announced.

Separately, McClatchy announced that its board of directors approved a stock buyback to the tune of $15 million through the end of 2016. The latest buyback expands the scope of a previous repurchase program, authorized up to $7 million.

McClatchy president and CEO Pat Talamantes struck a similarly optimistic note in announcing the buyback: “At McClatchy, we have strategies to move our company forward in this ever-changing media environment and have faith in our future as a leading local digital media company in 28 strong markets across the nation. We are excited about our ability to purchase McClatchy shares at attractive prices and return value to existing shareholders.”

On August 17, 2015, the New York Stock Exchange notified McClatchy that its shares weren’t in compliance with NYSE rules for listing, which require that the stock price remain above $1.00 per share for 30 consecutive trading days.

The company has a grace period of at least six months to remedy the situation.

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