Lee Enterprises Takes $722 Million Charge On Pulitzer Acquisition

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Back in March, newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises (NYSE: LEE) warned that it would take a $500-$700 million non-cash hit related to its $1.4 billion purchase of Pulitzer in 2005. We’d wondered previously when that would happen, given that all of the other newspaper deals have resulted in major writedowns. In a 10-Q filing (via AP) last night, the company confirmed that it had written down $721.9 million worth of goodwill related to that deal. It also warned that the final numbers aren’t set in stone, and could still change considerably. Separately it took a $90.4 million pre-tax charge related to an investment in publisher TNI. All told, its loss for the quarter came to $713 million. Ultimately, this is a backwards looking indicator, as it doesn’t say anything about the newspaper business we didn’t already know. The only questions were when and how much.

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