Gannett Co Q4 Earnings Call Highlights: Dividends versus Buybacks

On Monday, Gannett Co.(NYSE:GCI) reported its fourth quarter earnings report and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

TV Outlook and CareerBuilder Growth

John Janedis – UBS asked: Gracia, you talked about the TV outlook and their benefits from the Super Bowl. Could you talk about the pacings from January to February?

And then separately on CareerBuilder, you mentioned the global growth revenue was up 15 percent. Can you break out the North America-only growth? On the December global invoicing, do you have a pro forma number excluding some of those non-U.S. acquisitions you made?

Gracia C. Martore – President and CEO responded: I think we ought to start with the TV outlook. Pacings, I think, January got off to a little bit; it’s going to be a little bit less than clearly February when we have the benefit of the Super Bowl on all of our NBC affiliates.

I think pacings are up very nicely, I think, double-digits in February and certainly stronger in March. We are very pleased at the follow through there.

Auto has been a very strong category as it was in the fourth quarter, and it continues to have good traction in the first quarter so we are very pleased with that. I think it’d be tough for us to kind of break out all of those components on CareerBuilder, but what we can tell you is that in North America, I think, revenues were up, again in the low-teens around the 12 percent to 13 percent range. Internationally, I think we said revenues were up 40 percent plus excluding acquisitions.

We have the Singapore acquisition; it still would have been a substantial double-digit increase excluding that acquisition but I know that Jeff will calculate that number and come back to you.

Dividends versus Buybacks 

Bill Bird – Lazard Capital Markets asked: Could you talk about how you think about dividends versus buybacks?

Gracia C. Martore – President and CEO: Dividends versus buyback. There’s all the academic work that’s been done around them, about the consistency of cash flow that dividends sometimes project on share repurchases; there are benefits to that.

We listen to our owners and potential owners and get their feedback on it. And then, we are in the process of obviously sharing all of that with our Board. We will look to providing what I think is a good balance between the two that makes the most sense for us again to provide flexibility for us to make investments while at the same time returning incremental cash flow to our shareholders.

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