Lee Enterprises touts management strategy; reports $5.3 million profit in fourth quarter ended Sept. 26

Lee Enterprises, Inc. – owner of the Quad City Times, Dispatch/Argus and news operations in 76 other markets – earned $5.3 million during the fourth quarter ended Sept. 26.

The positive earnings announcement Thursday (12/9) came a day after the Davenport-based company's board of directors unanimously rejected the $24-per-share buyout offer made by Alden Global Capital last month.

While the Lee earnings news release held up fourth quarter operating revenues ($194 million) and fiscal year operating revenues ($794.6 million) as signs the company's strategic plan was working, on a pro forma basis, full year operating revenues were down 3 percent compared to 2020.

The pro forma adjustment is necessary because Lee purchased BH Media's 34 news properties and the Buffalo News early last year and any year-to-year comparison needs to reflect those acquisitions.

Lee borrowed from Berkshire Hathaway, owner of BH Media, to purchase BH Media and refinance its already large long-term debt. As of Sept. 26, Lee was $482.6 million in debt. The interest rate on the Berkshire Hathaway loan is 9 percent.

In a email sent to all Lee employees, President and CEO Kevin Mowbray stated he was "grateful to work alongside such a deeply talented group of people, united by a commitment to local journalism that matters."

"I am proud of the resilience of our team, our powerful brands and – most importantly – the organization's deep-rooted commitment to consistently delivering high-quality, impactful journalism to the communities we serve," Mowbray stated in the email. "Thanks for all that you do."

CLICK HERE to view Lee's full news release and fourth quarter financials,

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