Gannett Q4 Broadcasting Flat

Political advertising up, auto and retail down

Broadcasting revenues were $212.8 million at Gannett in the fourth quarter, about even with the $212 million the company booked in the fourth quarter of 2007. Political advertising was $58.1 million, which offset weakness in automotive and retail advertising.

"Based on where we are today, we would expect television revenues to be down in the mid-teens for the first quarter of 2009," said Gannett, "compared to the first quarter of 2008."

Gannett reported that preliminary 2008 fourth quarter earnings per diluted share from continuing operations were $0.69, compared with $1.06 per share in the fourth quarter of 2007. The preliminary results for the quarter include $56 million in pre-tax severance expenses related to restructuring and efficiency efforts in the U.S. and the UK.

The preliminary results do not include non-cash charges expected to be recorded in the quarter for the impairment of goodwill and other assets. Those charges have yet to be finalized.

"Our results for the quarter reflect the unprecedented turmoil in the economies of both the U.S. and the UK and in the financial markets," said Gannett Chairman/President/CEO Craig Dubow. "Our anticipated non-cash impairment charges stem from recessions in the U.S. and UK and the resultant impact on business conditions and the broad-based downward pressure on equity share values. The impairment charges, while significant, will not impact operating cash flow, our ability to pay down debt or the way we will operate the company going forward."