Thursday, January 11, 2007

Scripps considers splitting off newspapers?

That's what the Wall Street Journal reports that Joseph NeCastro, Scripps' chief financial officer, told an analysts' conference.

He said management had spent "a fair amount of time with the board and with the members of the trust talking about options for the newspaper side," adding that separating the newspapers would be "clearly the most advantageous route" to improve the company's share price.

The newspapers can't be sold because of the terms of a trust governing Scripps' ownership, however.
Scripps, of course, is filling its coffers off its cable networks like the Food Network, DIY, HGTV and others.

Does it surprise me? Yes, a little, because newspapers still provide pretty good cash flow, not an insignificant thing when paired with broadcasting that can sometimes need that cash flow to deal with the ups and downs of the market and of producing programming. Still, everyone who owns newspapers right now has to be looking at ways of slicing and dicing them into parts that can be jettisoned, if needed. The trick is figuring out what is likely to be viable going forward and what is truly dead or dying wood.

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