A day after Tronc executives offered Wall Street analysts no guidance on how the company will perform in fiscal 2018, investors hammered the publisher’s shares, sending them down 24 percent, to $15.05.
“Management did not give any guidance on where things are going,” said Michael Kupinski, at Noble Capital Markets, of the company that bought the money-losing Daily News for $1 in September and is selling the profitable Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune for $500 million to Patrick Soon-Shiong.
“You kind of look at the company with a lot of cash and ask, ‘Where are they going?’ ” said Doug Arthur, with Huber Research. “It was kind of a wake-up call. After the sale, what are they left with?”
The company said it thinks the sale of its California papers is “imminent” but said it would not give any guidance until the first quarter on how it plans to use the cash.
CFO Terry Jiminez said it might use the funds to pay down all its debt — if the board decides to go that way.
Tronc President Tim Knight said the company is still pursuing “a variety of tuck-in acquisitions around our core group.”
But when CEO Justin Dearborn was asked about speculation that it was eyeing Jim Cramer’s financial news company, TheStreet, he said, “We can’t comment on that.”
The company also declined to reveal how the News, which lost about $13 million in the first half, was faring since the takeover.
“I expect the Daily News will continue to have severe revenue issues in 2018,” said Arthur. “I still think it will lose money in 2018.”
Kupinski believed there was no one factor in the stock selloff. “It’s layers of things. It was a pretty weak quarter.”
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