Dow Jones To Keep Ottaway Papers
Oct. 26, 1998
NEW YORK (AP) _ Dow Jones & Co. plans to hold on to Ottaway Newspapers, deeming that it can earn more from owning the community newspaper group than it would make from a sale.
The announcement Monday came as Dow Jones told analysts it will strive for at least 10 percent earnings-per-share growth over the next three years. The company will focus on expanding its print and electronic publishing businesses, including The Wall Street Journal, and controlling costs.
Dow Jones has announced several measures aimed at improving profits, including job cuts and stock buybacks, since selling its money-losing Dow Jones Markets financial information service in May.
In the review that followed the Markets sale, Dow Jones had considered all options for Ottaway but decided it would be better off trying to improve the newspaper group than selling it, chief executive Peter Kann said.
Ottaway publishes 19 daily and 17 weekly newspapers in 12 states. The group does not fit into Dow Jones' main focus on business news and its work force has been slashed by 300 this year, feeding speculation that it would be sold.
But Kann said the company believes ``Ottaway's publishing mission, and publishing competencies, are fully compatible with those of Dow Jones as a whole.''
In addition to improving Ottaway, Dow Jones executives said the Journal will publish more special sections along with previously announced plans to add more advertising pages and color over the next three years.
The company is also broadening the reach of Dow Jones Newswires, its electronic news service, through recently expanded distribution deals with Reuters Holdings PLC and Bloomberg LP.
Kann said Dow Jones' growth plans does not require acquisitions, but the company would consider any opportunities that may arise.
The company's shares rose 75 cents to $44.56 1/4 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.
Dow Jones also owns Barron's and SmartMoney magazines.