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Gannett Attains 52-Week High

Zacks Equity Research

Shares of Gannett Co., Inc. (GCI) touched a new 52-week high of $26.96 on Monday, Sep 30 and eventually closed trade at $26.79. The stock has been performing well, driven by the company’s declared strategic plans. This diversified media conglomerate has amassed a year-to-date return of 48.9%.

The average volume of shares traded over the last 3 months was approximately 2,107K. Moreover, the company currently trades at a forward P/E of 12.3x, a 60.1% discount to the peer group average of 31.19x. The last traded price is 1.7% below the Zacks Consensus average analyst price target of $27.25. Additionally, the company’s long-term estimated earnings per share (EPS) growth rate is 6.0%.

Investors are optimistic about this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock as it made some strategic declarations to keep itself buoyed on the growth trajectory. These included the disclosure of $1.25 billion Senior Notes offering, shareholders’ approval of the Belo Corp. acquisition and initiation of a new pilot program. Moreover, the company signed a deal with Generation Partners to promote the growth of Captivate Network.

The Belo acquisition was announced in June. The $1.5 million deal is expected to close by the end of 2013. This deal is a strategic fit for the company, as it will transform Gannett’s business model that is largely focused on low margins newspapers, into a high-margin multi-media business.

The company has also initiated a subscription-based model, launched Digital Marketing Services in top markets and refurbished its iconic brand, USA TODAY to generate new advertising and marketing revenue sources. The company is expanding its digital marketing services under the brand name of G/O Digital.

In October, Gannett will launch its all-access content subscription model in four markets in association with USA TODAY. The program will be initiated in Indianapolis, Ind.; Rochester, N.Y.; Appleton, Wis.; and Fort Myers, Fla.

For the pilot program and expansion of digital services, Gannett is expected to invest nearly $2–$3 million in third-quarter 2013 and nearly $4–$5 million in fourth-quarter 2013.

We believe that Gannett has been realigning its cost structure and streamlining operations to increase its efficiencies, and consequently, bolster the operating performance.

Apart from Gannett, other stocks such as Boston Beer Co. Inc. (SAM), Time Warner Inc. (TWX) and L Brands, Inc. (LTD) achieved new 52-week highs of $250.34, $66.38 and $61.66, respectively, on Sep 30, 2013.

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