07.02.2009 10:45 AM
Gabelli Increases Stake in Media General

RICHMOND, VA.: Investor Mario Gabelli upped his stake of Media General, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Gabelli’s Gamco Investors of Rye, N.Y., now holds nearly 30 percent of Media General’s (NYSE: MEG) A shares. Gamco has purchased 442,437 shares since March, the Times said, increasing the firm’s piece of MEG from 27.94 to 29.87 percent, and from 22 percent in April of 2008. He has reportedly been a MEG shareholder since the late 1980s.

Gabelli is also an investor in Fisher Communications, the Seattle media company with 13 full-power TV stations among other properties. He came in conflict with Fisher leadership earlier this year when he proposed that purchases exceeding $25 million require shareholder approval. Gabelli was motivated by what he considered an overpayment by Fisher for two TV stations in Bakersfield, Calif., obtained for $55 million. Fisher brought in advisors who recommended a “no” vote on the idea; Gabelli’s Gamco wound up with two nominees for the company’s board of directors.

Fisher posted a net loss of $4.26 million on revenues of $28.5 million for the first quarter of 2009. The stock was trading mid-day $11.51 a share, down slightly for the day on a wider market dip precipitated higher-than-expected unemployment.

Media General posted a loss of $21.3 million on revenues of $159.5 million for the first quarter. The stock dipped briefly below $2 this morning then inched back up to $2.01 by mid-day. MEG is more heavily invested in newspapers than Fisher, which concentrates on radio and television stations. Media General has 19 TV stations, 24 daily newspapers and 250 other print publications.
-- Deborah D. McAdams

More TVB coverage of Media General:
June 24, 2009: “FitzSimons Tapped for Media General Board
Dennis J. FitzSimons, former chairman and CEO of Tribune Co., has been appointed to the board of directors of Media General.

March 13, 2009:Media General to Shutter 30-year-old Washington Bureau
“We very much regret having to take this step,” said Graham Woodlief, president of the publishing division. “However, as the economy continues to contract…. we must continue to find ways to align our costs with the available revenue.” 

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