Home – Blog – Industry News: Lee Enterprises outlines digital strategies, improves cost outlook
February 19, 2014
DAVENPORT, Iowa (February 19, 2014) — At its annual meeting of stockholders today, Lee Enterprises,
Incorporated (NYSE: LEE), a major provider of local news, information and advertising in 50 markets, will
provide a review of its digital news, sales and audience strategies, along with a financial update that
includes improved cost guidance.
The presentation is available at lee.net. It includes remarks by Mary Junck, chairman and chief executive
officer; Kevin Mowbray, vice president and chief operating officer; and Carl Schmidt, vice president, chief
financial officer and treasurer.
“As we recently reported, Lee is off to a solid start in 2014,” Junck said. “We grew digital revenue and
audiences at a double-digit pace, continued to reduce expenses, again posted strong cash flow, reduced our
debt further and announced a commitment for a favorable refinancing of our second lien debt. Those
reasons reinforce our upbeat outlook.”
Expanded local news and information tailored for each digital platform – desktop and tablet web,
mobile web, mobile apps, tablet apps, e-editions and niche apps.
Expanded mobile advertising capabilities, including geo-targeting, and expanded digital marketing
services aimed at small and medium-size businesses.
Introduction of full-access subscriptions in 28 markets by September, providing subscribers with a
single sign-on to all digital platforms in addition to home delivery of the printed newspaper.
Ongoing business transformation initiatives, including the expansion of regional design centers, now
serving 25 newspapers.
In providing improved cost guidance, Schmidt said 2014 operating expenses, excluding depreciation and
amortization, as well as impairment charges in the prior year, are expected to decrease 1.5-2.5%, a change
of about $5 million from the prior estimate. This guidance excludes the impact of a circulation-related
expense reclassification that will increase both subscription revenue and expenses, but have no impact on
operating cash flow or operating income.
Schmidt also reviewed plans for refinancing Lee’s long-term debt. He said that in addition to completing a
previously announced agreement for refinancing Lee’s second lien debt to December 2022, the company is
focused on refinancing its first lien debt, which matures in December 2015. He said Lee will seek to
refinance its first lien debt over the next few months, using a combination of pre-payable and non-prepayable
facilities, with a goal of extending the company’s non-Pulitzer weighted average maturities beyond
Lee Enterprises is a leading provider of local news and information, and a major platform for advertising, in
its markets, with 46 daily newspapers and a joint interest in four others, rapidly growing digital products and
nearly 300 specialty publications in 22 states.