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As expected, Gannett (NYSE: GCI) has cut its dividend from 40 cents per share to only 4 cents, which the newspaper publisher said would save it $325 million in free cash flow. The McClean, Va.-based company has already gone through all manners of cost-savings initiatives lately: from cutting 3,000 jobs in October across all its local papers to mandatory unpaid time off in Q1.
Gannett has been trying to pay down its $3.8 billion in long-term debt — $500 million of which is due in June — as it tries to cope with the daily pressures associated with the newspaper industry and the global economic crisis. Speculation on when Gannett would cut its dividend has been swirling for a while. And since the NYTCo’s recent move to suspend dividend payments entirely, observers will now surely be wondering when Gannett will do the same. Perhaps with those whispers in mind, Gannett pointed out that it has a streak of 163 consecutive dividends paid since 1967. Release.
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