It's been a long time coming. When we last checked in with media powerhouse Gannett
We were still waiting for the paper to pass through the doldrums caused by a sagging economy that had long made newspapers positively skittish about ad revenue. Peers and competitors such as Knight Ridder
For Gannett, at least, it looks like the wait is over. First-quarter earnings, released today, show strong increases in advertising revenues across every segment of the company. Overall, operating revenues reached $1.73 billion, an 11% increase over the prior-year period. The strongest gain came in newspaper advertising, which climbed 15%. That's good news, because those sales are worth twice as much as all the company's other revenues combined.
However, even last quarter's laggard, television, came through with a 7.1% increase over the prior quarter. The better top line helped drive record earnings on the bottom line. For the period, earnings per share (EPS) hit $1.
The stock currently trades just above $90 a ticket, near a 52-week high, so it looks like investors have been expecting good things. At a trailing P/E of 20, the company is valued at the high end of its 10-year average. Looking ahead, with this year's earnings estimated at $4.95 per share, the forward P/E stands at about 18 on assumed growth of 12%. The shares, therefore, look fully valued by either measure.
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