E.W. Scripps To Sell Some Stock to Public
CINCINNATI (AP) _ E.W. Scripps Co., the privately held parent corporation of the Scripps Howard Media Group, announced Tuesday it plans to sell some of its limited- voting common stock to the public.
The newspaper publishing company said the number of shares to be sold had not been determined but that control of the company would remain with the founding Scripps family.
It said the required paperwork was expected to be filed with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission next month.
Lawrence A. Leser, president and chief executive officer, said the stock sale was intended to pay off debt incurred for the company’s acquisition program begun in 1986 and to finance further growth.
Leser said it also would provide liquidity for members of the Scripps family who will control the company after the termination of the Edward W. Scripps Trust, the present controlling shareholder.
The trust is to terminate upon the death of the last of the four eldest children of Robert P. Scripps, son of company founder E.W. Scripps. At termination, the assets of the trust are to be distributed to 28 great- grandchildren of E.W. Scripps.
During its existence, the trust is required to maintain voting control of E.W. Scripps Co.
The company has an 80 percent-owned subsidiary, Scripps Howard Broadcasting Co., which has public ownership and is traded over-the-counter. The stock sale will not affect the status of that company, the announcement said.
E.W. Scripps Co. owns 21 daily newspapers, nine television stations, five radio stations and cable systems nationwide that serve approximately 400,000 cable TV subscribers. It also owns United Media, a New York-based syndicator of newspaper columns and comic strips.
E.W. Scripps Co. was reincorporated in Delaware in 1987 and has two classes of common stock outstanding: regular common and Class A common, which has limited voting power. The capital structure is similar to that of other media companies that seek to retain control within the founding family, Leser said.
The Edward W. Scripps Trust now owns 73 percent of the regular common shares and 90 percent of the Class A shares.
Holders of the Class A common shares to be sold to the public will be entitled to elect a third of the company directors, but will not have other voting rights.
In all other respects, the Class A stock is comparable to the regular common shares, the company said.
Charles E. Scripps, board chairman of the E.W. Scripps Co. and chairman of the trustees of the trust, said: ″My grandfather, through the trust, perpetuated family control for as long as was legally possible. The present capitalization, with a public market for the Class A common shares, will permit the next generation of the family to retain control of the company after the termination of the trust and provide liquidity for their holdings.″
The majority of the shares to be offered will be newly issued stock. The trust will sell a portion of its holding, but it will continue to hold a majority of both the regular common and Class A shares after the sale.