Lee Enterprises, Inc. news release on earnings doesn't mention actual earnings, or lack thereof

Lee Enterprises, Inc. – calling itself a high quality and trusted source of news – issued a news release last week about its second quarter earnings without stating it lost $2.06 per share ($12.2 million) for the three-month period ended March 24.

The owner of the QC Times and Daily Dispatch/Argus and 70 other newspapers and online news site detailed its digital revenues, digital subscriptions, digital subscribers and digital advertising and marketing service in the news release.

But the company omitted stating it lost money during the second quarter, more than double its $1.01 loss ($5.9 million) loss a year ago. (The actual earnings numbers for the period are contained in the financial statement of operations – required by the Security and Exchange Commission – and attached to the news release narrative.)

“Lee delivered strong second quarter operating results as we improved overall revenue trends, managed operating expenses, and grew Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization)," Kevin Mowbray, Lee's President and Chief Executive Officer, stated in the company news release. "We are pleased with our impressive digital subscription revenue growth and expanding digital subscriber base. We now have 745,000 digital subscribers, a 25 percent increase over the prior year. Digital-only subscription revenue grew 48 percent , and totaled nearly $75 million over the last 12 months, positioning us toward our long-term target of $150 million."

Digital advertising revenue for the quarter actually fell almost $1 million to $45.4 million compared to the same period a year ago. Print advertising revenue dropped $12.7 million to $18.7 million compared to the second quarter of 2023. Overall operating revenue was down 15 percent – $24 million – from the previous year's quarter.

In recent months, Lee has attracted the interest of a well-known Wall Street financial analyst and investor.

Mario Gabelli and various investment funds controlled by Gabelli, have acquired a 5 percent stake in the company and his funds now hold 307,461 shares of Lee stock.

Gabelli is the founder, chairman and CEO of Gabelli Asset Management Company Investors (Gamco Investors), an investment firm headquartered in Rye, New York.

CLICK HERE to download the Lee earnings news release and financial statements.

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