Gray TV Faces Stock Delisting

arrow downA second local station group may face a delisting from the stock market due to a continually low share price. Gray Television, with 36 stations in 30 markets, said the New York Stock Exchange has notified it about possibly being dropped from trading, since its stock price has been below $1 over a 30-day period.

However, Gray does have time to maintain its place on the Big Board. At some point over the next six months, its share price must have an average closing price of $1 (or higher) for a singular 30-day period. That 30-day block could come at any interval within the 180-day time frame.

Gray's stock was at 43 cents in midday trading Friday, down from a 52-week high of $9.58. The company's stations include the NBC affiliates in Omaha and South Bend, Ind.

At least in part, Gray has been a victim of investors souring on the local station business as the ad market has weakened in recent months. Reduced spending in the struggling auto category and the uncertainty about its future has contributed to investor pessimism.



NYSE's notice to Gray follows a similar one that Young Broadcasting received from the NASDAQ. Young has since shifted to a different NASDAQ market with less stringent requirements for maintaining listing, which gives it additional time to boost its share price above $1.

In midday trading Friday, Young's stock was trading at about 5 cents a share, down from a 52-week high of $2.37.

Young has been hurt by investors' concerns that its ownership of the San Francisco MyNetworkTV affiliate, which it is trying to sell, is dragging down its performance. The group owns nine other stations.

A third station group, Acme Communications, voluntarily pulled itself off the NASDAQ on Nov. 3 in what the company said was an effort to save costs. Acme is also interested in selling its portfolio, which includes five CW affiliates and one MyNetworkTV station.

Acme's shares were also trading below $1 before it moved off the NASDAQ and shifted to the pink sheets market, where it is traded. The company said moving off NASDAQ will save it some $300,000 a year in fees and administrative costs.

Combined, Gray, Young and Acme only have three affiliates in top-50 markets: Young's San Francisco outlet and Acme's duopoly in Albuquerque.

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