Is Dow Jones stuck in a rut?
An item in the latest issue stated, “But with the stock’s decline of almost 10% in the past year, some analysts reckon the shares are overvalued.
“Lehman Brothers, for one, believes the stock needs to fall another 25% to be in line with the values of other newspaper companies.
“‘This company needs to do something radical, and I’m not sure they have the CEO who can do that,’ says Ivan Feinseth, research director at securities firm Matrix USA. He believes the company should slash its annual dividend payout of $83 million and publish the newspaper exclusively online.
“True, the old regime will finally bow out next week when former Chief Executive Peter Kann formally steps down as chairman. Since taking charge in January 2006, Chief Executive Richard Zannino has put more emphasis on the company’s Web businesses, most notably by buying full control of Factiva, the news database Dow Jones co-owned with Reuters. Subscriptions to WSJ.com rose 6% last year, to 811,000, while circulation of the dead-tree version was flat at 1.7 million. But even online, there were disturbing developments: a 6% decline in average monthly visitors to WSJ.com and a 14% drop at MarketWatch, a site Dow Jones acquired two years ago for $530 million.”
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