Lee Enterprises reports $5 million 2nd quarter loss

Lee Enterprises – owner of the Quad City Times and Dispatch/Argus – has reported a $5 million loss (9 cents per share) for the second quarter ended March 29. That was nearly double the loss ($2.3 million, 5 cents per share) for the same period a year ago.

Lee President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mowbray in the company's earnings news release June 18 stated he was "pleased to announce our solid second quarter financial results."

"Revenues and Adjust EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) performance were strong, despite the immediate disruption in the last two weeks of the quarter due to the COVID-10 pandemic," according to Mowbray.

The quarterly earnings were aided by the one-time gain of $6 million from the sale of company real estate.

During the quarter, Lee completed the purchase of Berkshire Hathaway's BH Media Newspaper Business, which included 30 daily newspapers, 49 paid weekly newspapers, 32 other print products along with their associated online web sites.

Lee paid $140 million for the Berkshire media operations, but that didn't include BH Media's real estate and production equipment. For that, Lee agreed to a pay $8 million annually over the next 10 years to lease 68 of the news properties and the production equipment.

Berkshire provided financing of the BH Media purchase, as well as refinancing of Lee's existing $432-million debt, leaving the Davenport-based Lee with a long-term debt of $576 million.

The 25-year loan from Berkshire has a 9 percent interest rate.

Mowbray stated the financial deal "came at highly attractive terms," and "eliminated our looming debt maturities."

Lee Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Tim Millage stated the company is "thrilled to have completed our financing at highly attractive terms, and to strengthen our relationship with Berkshire Hathaway."

CLICK HERE to download full quarterly report.

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