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Gannett Leans Toward High End of 4Q EPS Forecast

NEW YORK: Gannett is coming on strong toward the end of 2010.

“Most analysts’ estimates for fourth quarter EPS range from 72 cents to 82 cents. At this point, we are comfortable at the high end of that range,” said Gracia Martore, chief operating officer of the McLean, Va., multimedia company. Gannett’s were among a menu of media execs who presented at the UBS Media and Communications Conference this week.

Third-quarter earnings per share totaled 42 cents; 2Q10 EPS came in at 81 cents.

Gannett’s 23 TV stations are looking good for 4Q10 as well, said Dave Lougee, president of Gannett Broadcasting. For 2011, he said company executives “remain optimistic given the limited visibility we have. In January, auto is pacing very well for us and all of our major categories are pacing positively. Marketers returned to local television in 2010 because it works and there is every indication that will continue.”

Gannett TV revenues were $179.6 million in 3Q10, up from $145.2 million in 3Q09. Political totaled $36.6 million year-to-date as of Sept. 26, 2010. TV in 2Q pulled in $177.5 million versus $148.4 million a year earlier.

Gannett closed 3Q10 with $2.4 billion in long-term debt, down from more than $3 billion at the end of 2009. Cash and equivalents totaled $172.4 million versus $98.6 million.

Shares of Gannett (NYSE:GCI) were trading in early afternoon at $15.41, up nearly 4 percent year-to-date.
-- Deborah D. McAdams