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Sell, sell, sell that Tribune Publishing stock

Former U-T owner Doug Manchester likely poised to cash out

Douglas Manchester on Wednesday (August 12) filed a shelf registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the possible sale of the stock he received when Tribune Publishing bought the Union-Tribune from him in May. A shelf registration means Manchester can sell his stock without filing a prospectus.

On May 21 of this year, Manchester sold the U-T to Tribune Publishing for $71 million in cash and 700,869 shares of Tribune Publishing stock. The stock has since cratered, along with the company's revenue and earnings. The company reported this week that for the second quarter, net income fell 80 percent to $3 million from the same quarter of a year earlier, as revenue fell to $410 million from $430 million a year ago.

Tribune Publishing owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and Baltimore Sun, among other publications. In mid-2014, the company was spun off from the parent company, leaving Tribune Media, which owns TV stations and other non-newspaper assets, and Tribune Publishing.

Initially, Tribune Publishing stock sold above $24. Today (August 14), it closed at $10.77, down 5.19 percent.

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Douglas Manchester on Wednesday (August 12) filed a shelf registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the possible sale of the stock he received when Tribune Publishing bought the Union-Tribune from him in May. A shelf registration means Manchester can sell his stock without filing a prospectus.

On May 21 of this year, Manchester sold the U-T to Tribune Publishing for $71 million in cash and 700,869 shares of Tribune Publishing stock. The stock has since cratered, along with the company's revenue and earnings. The company reported this week that for the second quarter, net income fell 80 percent to $3 million from the same quarter of a year earlier, as revenue fell to $410 million from $430 million a year ago.

Tribune Publishing owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and Baltimore Sun, among other publications. In mid-2014, the company was spun off from the parent company, leaving Tribune Media, which owns TV stations and other non-newspaper assets, and Tribune Publishing.

Initially, Tribune Publishing stock sold above $24. Today (August 14), it closed at $10.77, down 5.19 percent.

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Comments
28

The stock should be falling because the quality of the San Diego paper has gotten bad. San Diego news is just an after thought to the paper.

Aug. 14, 2015

boemac: However, the Union-Tribune is not a big part of Tribune Publishing. It wouldn't affect Tribune's stock a lot unless it completely fell apart, and it hasn't. It's like other metro daily newspapers -- sliding downward in performance, not plummeting. Besides, I wouldn't be surprised if the U-T is doing better on the bottom line than several other Tribune papers. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 14, 2015

In my opinion the content of the San Diego UT has improved. It's a sigh of relief to have the paper in the hands of an experienced publisher and not the "cheerleader" that owned it last.

Aug. 14, 2015

Ponzi: Most people I talk with think the paper has improved under its current management. Unfortunately, though, editorial quality has only a tenuous relationship with profitability of a paper. In fact, there may be no relationship at all. I hate to say it, but I fear it is true. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 14, 2015

Chuck Radloff: Manchester paid around $110 million for the U-T. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 14, 2015

I guess it's good news for trees, but trees are, if managed properly (they aren't now), a "sustainable," repurposable, recyclable, resource. Electronic devices have their direct and indirect dollar and environmental costs too, and once the electronic archive is lost or eclipsed, it's gone forever.

Back to hammer, chisel, and stone?

Aug. 14, 2015

Twister: A big problem is that newspapers don't deliver their product fast enough. The Internet has lightning speed. Newspapers are trying to lasso the Internet and make it profitable, but it is a tough slog. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 14, 2015

So, Dougie took much of his payoff in Tribune stock, and almost immediately the stock price tanked? There is some justice in the world. Tribune Publishing is a bunch of newspapers and nothing else. The "good stuff", such as television stations and other things that may still be profitable, were separated into a new company. And so the papers soldier on by themselves.

If Papa waits much longer his stock may be worth just about the cost of the paper it is printed on. This reminds me of the 1980's and all the "creative financing" deals that went on in the housing market. Homes were traded fast and furiously between residents and speculators, but usually very little cash was involved. Who knew what a home was worth after two or three of those swaps? Turns out that they were worth quite a lot after the market returned to "normal." But newspapers? I think that very few papers in the US are worth anything at all, as defined as profit-making enterprises. Circulation keeps dropping, and the value to advertisers keeps shrinking. Where's the end to all this?

Aug. 14, 2015

I think the media giants are buying out smaller publishers because they feel they can become stronger by getting bigger and using synergies inherent in the conglomerate model. The problem with that is that it's a race against time and against new media darlings on the internet. It's a legacy business whose customers are legacy consumers. (Like me)

I have subscribed to the LA Times and the San Diego UT for years. I read a lot. And I appreciate a newspaper that I can take with me to the bathroom because I would feel weird sitting on the toilet with my tablet. Now, if only they could make the newspaper feel as soft as Charmin, I would be content.

Aug. 14, 2015

Ponzi: The answer is for newspapers to master the Internet and get the news out quickly electronically, and also thoroughly in the old-fashioned way. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 14, 2015

The big problem is that the newspapers have failed to adapt their advertising format to the internet. The newspapers need something like Google's simple keyword advertising that is not obtrusive to the reader for online.

Aug. 17, 2015

rshimizu12: Reading newspapers online is, indeed, disconcerting, as ads pop up, u-tubes suddenly blast at you, ad nauseam. Ads are far less intrusive reading the paper in print. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 17, 2015

Visduh: I can't disagree with what you say. The numbers clearly show that newspapers -- particularly metro dailies -- are slipping, slipping, slipping. However, I think it will be some time before newspapers die out completely. There are a couple of generations, including my own, that would rather read the news and analyses in a newspaper format than on a computer. We have to die off before newspapers can retreat to their graves. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 14, 2015

I agree. There are still millions of people like us that like to read things in print. I often just throw a blanket on the grass at Balboa Park and read my stuff. I read The Economist, Barron's, WSJ, The Futurist, Psychology Today and many other printed stories. I prefer the true mobility of printed material because I don't have to worry about my tablet dying. I like the feel of the magazine or newspaper in my hands. Even though I have a tech background, I use the internet more to search for stuff, but I still prefer to do my reading off-line. I will die someday and then those publications will lose another subscriber.

Aug. 14, 2015

Ponzi: Those publications want you as a paid subscriber who will read the content online. Do you think you will switch in your lifetime? Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 15, 2015

I'm with y'all in favor of newspapers, but for the privy, I started out with Sears & Roebuck. You read the page, then started wrinklin' it and massaging it 'till it was kinda softish, but with a little remaining bite, as it were, then you folded over and over and over, then tossed it into a basket for fire-starter. I know some folks would holler, "TMI, TMI!' but I know y'all will find it charmin'.

Aug. 14, 2015

Twister: What about the Montgomery Ward catalog? Does it have some qualities that the Sears catalog lacks? Is Monkey Ward privyleged? Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 15, 2015

The STENCH! OH THE STENCH!!!

Aug. 15, 2015

Twister: I can remember when Montgomery Ward was considered competition for Sears. And I can remember when Sears was THE retailer. It would be in first place forever, seemingly. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 18, 2015

The one thing that the lightning speed internet can not bring is the in depth articles on local issues and news. We have many cities with divergent populations and therefore issues and stories that the internet "papers" will not cover. I don't know if local stories, news, etc. would generate revenue enough for the paper to continue but . . .

Aug. 15, 2015

AlexClarke: Newspapers for some time have been doing more analyses and interpretative journalism. That's a smart direction to go in if you can't get the news out fast enough. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 15, 2015

San Diego Highwayman: Do you think they will stop that littering? I don't think they will. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 15, 2015

Newspapers need something old, something new, but they shouldn't be borrowing or perpetuating the rotten stuff.

With respect to the Internet, they're not respecting it. Berners-Lee's concept is still valid, and should be built upon, not torn down--the mistake that most, if not all newspapers and websites in general persist in making.

It should be free and user-driven. Instead, it is becoming more and more intrusive and controlling. The programmers design software to please themselves and to show off their superior "intelligence." Instead of facilitating use, they put up barriers. For example, if I want to contact a business, I must fill out a form now, when once I could click on a link and start typing an email. I resent this, and that resentment translates into my not coming back and/or buying a product or service. I could go on and on, but nobody understands, and everybody wants business as usual (SNAFU).

Newspapers could have become more RESPONSIVE instead of MANIPULATIVE, but the chose the latter. I want to read the paper, then go home and retrieve a copy that I can cut and paste from, and research further. I want a newspaper that consolidates issues and provides continuity via archives and new developments. Fat chance.

I've been trying to "interact" with a major newspaper's reporter on a strong story that he wrote about an event where he got flawed information. He's on to other stuff. I understand; he's under pressure. But he'll never get a Pulitzer that way. No fire in his belly. The public got flawed information because he quoted a press release. Don't these guy's understand that press releases dissemble by nature?

My twisted view . . .

Aug. 15, 2015

Twister: Yours are fascinating views. A couple of points: winning a Pulitzer is like getting a Nobel Prize. It requires intensive politics-playing.

Newspapers generally waste time and resources trying to win contests, particularly the Pulitzer. Indeed, many editors seem to think that the major objective of the paper is to win a Pulitzer. I saw that when I was with the Union-Tribune.

The major objective of the editorial product should be to boost market share of the paper, and contribute to the company's revenue and profit. Editors, columnists, and reporters should aim at reaching a broad and deep audience with the product. But all too many concentrate on winning a Pulitzer, or some other prize.

It's similar with ad agencies. They spend time and money trying to win a prize, when 100 percent of their efforts should be in boosting the market share, revenue, and profits of their client. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 16, 2015

I agree's with you 'cept for one thang, "The major objective of the editorial product should be to boost market share of the paper, and contribute to the company's revenue and profit." Give them literary excellence and the profits will come. Papers that don't get this concept ain't worth reading.

I 'specially agree's with you about ad agencies. When I say the Internet should be user-driven and user-oriented, I mean that it should function to get shoppers what they want, not anger them with unwanted ads which they can't delete. The "latest 'big thing'" is the video with loud sound that the user can't delete. This creates so much resentment in me that I will boycott their products.

Aug. 17, 2015

Twister: Unfortunately, I don't think literary excellence and profits go together. I am not even sure that journalistic excellence and profits go together. I speak as a former shareholder (only 200 shares) in New York Times. I held on, believing if any daily newspaper could make it with an online edition, it would be the Times. Alas, I was wrong. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 18, 2015

How ironic is it that Manchester bought Foxhill, the Copley estate? Well, at least he didn't pay the asking price, so maybe he can afford to at least pay the water bill though he'll probably have to dump a bit more Tribune stock. I guess since he claims to be making that his primary residence, San Diego will still have Dougie to kick around, at least for a while.

Aug. 17, 2015

danfogel: Papa Doug and his Siberian bride won't be going back East during the winter -- at least, that would be my guess. My assumption is that he will be in San Diego -- where the bulk of his investments are -- most of the year. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 17, 2015

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