Gannett 3Q net income lower, matches Street views

By the Associated Press | October 20, 2011 | 9:15 AM EDT

MCLEAN, Va. (AP) — Gannett Co., publisher of USA Today and 81 other daily newspapers, posted a slight decline in its third-quarter net income Monday as ad revenue fell.

The results matched Wall Street's expectations.

Gannett said that it earned $99.8 million or 41 cents per share in the July-September period. That's down nearly 2 percent from $101 million, or 42 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Excluding special items, such as restructuring charges related to job cuts, Gannett earned 44 cents per share, matching analysts' expectations. The company laid off 700 workers, or about 2 percent of its work force, in June due to the slump in advertising revenue at its newspapers.

Revenue fell nearly 4 percent to $1.27 billion from $1.31 billion, but it met the expectations of analysts polled by FactSet.

"All of our business segments continued to deliver consistent profitability in the third quarter," said Gracia Martore, president and CEO, in a statement. Gannett named Martore as CEO earlier this month after Craig Dubow resigned for health reasons.

Revenue at Gannett's publishing segment, which includes its newspapers, declined 5 percent to $917.8 million from $969.4 million. The company had warned investors that advertising revenue in its newspaper division fell during the quarter, extending a decline that began in 2006.

The company said a decline in advertising demand at USA Today was partially offset by an increase in national advertising at its Newsquest division in the U.K.

Gannett, which owns 23 television stations, said its broadcasting revenue declined 6 percent to $174.3 million from $185.3 million in the year-ago quarter, which benefited from political advertising ahead of the midterm elections.

The company's CareerBuilder website helped push revenue at its digital division up 10 percent to $173.9 million. Across all of Gannett's digital properties, which include revenue generated by its newspaper websites, revenue also grew 10 percent, to $272.6 million.

Gannett's stock slid 44 cents, or 4 percent, to $10.50 in morning trading Monday, amid a broader market decline. The stock, which has traded in the 52-week range of $8.28 and 18.93, is down 30.4 percent since the beginning of the year, compared with a 3 percent decline for the Standard & Poor's 500 index.