Scripps board increases dividend; initiates steps to split stock
Fri, April 30, 2004 by Tim Stautberg
CINCINNATI –The Board of Directors of The E. W. Scripps Company has approved a 14 percent increase in its dividend to shareholders and has set into motion plans to declare a 2 for 1 stock split. The board authorized an increase in the company’s quarterly dividend from 17.5 cents to 20 cents per share. The dividend is payable on June 10 to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 31. To enable a stock split, the board of directors has proposed an amendment to the company’s Articles of Incorporation that would double the number of authorized shares of the company’s two classes of common stock. The proposal to increase the current authorization of 120 million Class A Common Shares and 30 million Common Voting Shares has to be approved by holders of the company’s Common Voting Shares. A special meeting of Common Voting shareholders to vote on the matter has been set for July 15. The company’s Class A Common Shares are publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “SSP.” Those shares closed yesterday at $106.50. There is no active market for the company’s Common Voting Shares. As of Feb. 10, 2004, there were 62.7 million Class A Common Shares and 18.4 million Common Voting Shares outstanding. Approximately 87 percent of Common Voting Shares are held by The Edward W. Scripps Trust.Following an affirmative vote of the Common Voting shareholders, the board would be able to declare the 2 for 1 stock split at its next regularly scheduled meeting in late July. The stock split would not change the proportionate interest a shareholder maintains in the company. This action would be the first stock split since the company went public in 1988. Since then Scripps shares have appreciated at a compound average annual rate of approximately 17 percent.The E.W. Scripps Company is a diverse media concern with interests in newspaper publishing, broadcast television, national television networks, interactive media and television-retailing. Scripps operates 21 daily newspapers, 10 broadcast TV stations, four cable and satellite television programming services and a television retailing network. All of the company’s media businesses provide content and advertising services via the Internet.Scripps Networks brands include Home & Garden Television, Food Network, DIY -- Do It Yourself Network and Fine Living. HGTV reaches about 85 million U.S. television households and Food Network can be seen in about 84 million households. Scripps Networks Web sites include FoodNetwork.com, HGTV.com, DIYnetwork.com and fineliving.com. Scripps Networks programming can be seen in 86 countries. The company’s television retailing subsidiary, Shop At Home Network, markets a growing range of consumer goods directly to television viewers and visitors to the Shop At Home Web site, shopathometv.com. Shop At Home reaches about 48 million full-time equivalent U.S. households.Scripps also operates Scripps Howard News Service and United Media, which is the worldwide licensing and syndication home of PEANUTS and DILBERT.