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POSTED: Thursday, March 19, 2009

NATION

Gannett revenue off 24% in 2 months

Gannett Co., the newspaper publisher whose print advertising sales plunged 16 percent last year, posted a total revenue decline of 24 percent in the first two months of 2009, Chief Financial Officer Gracia Martore said.

Circulation revenue at the McLean, Va.-based publisher of USA Today and the Honolulu Advertiser will climb about 1 percent in the first quarter, Martore told a conference of media analysts yesterday in New York. Gannett has cut jobs and trimmed other expenses as the recession and a migration by advertisers to the Web threatens the future of U.S. newspapers.

The company cut its predicted capital spending in 2009 to $100 million from a previous forecast of $150 million as ad sales continue to drop, Martore said. Gannett also is considering what to do with its Web sites, including charging for subscriptions, Chief Executive Craig Dubow said.

Dubow's pay package was slashed by 60 percent last year to $3.1 million, based on The Associated Press' analysis of figures Gannett filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday. That's down from 2007 compensation of $7.9 million, which included estimates provided by the company of restricted stock and stock options that overstate what they are currently worth.

As big as the decline in Dubow's 2008 pay package was, it still fell short of the 79 percent plunge in Gannett's market value that erased $8 billion in shareholder wealth last year.

 

WORLD

China axes Coke bid for juice maker

BEIJING » China denied Coca-Cola Co.'s closely watched $2.5 billion bid to buy major Chinese juice producer Huiyuan Juice Group Ltd., highlighting Beijing's rejection of foreign control over its top companies even as they step up acquisitions abroad.

The refusal yesterday to allow the foreign acquisition in a non-strategic business such as fruit juice could backfire abroad as state-owned Chinese companies pursue investments in mining and other sensitive industries.