Numbers don’t lie. DallasNews CEO Grant Moise made $1.4 million last year and $1.2 million in 2021. On an operating basis, the company lost $10 million in 2021 and $9 million last year. The DallasNews share price has been decimated, and the company’s market cap has fallen to $24 million, against last year’s revenue of $151 million—a remarkably low ratio. DallasNews’s cash and short-term investments at the end of the first quarter were $25.8 million, or more than the company’s market value. (These are America’s 25 dying industries.)
Results for the first quarter of 2023 were just as poor as for 2022. The DallasNews operating loss was $2.7 million, compared to $2.5 million in the same quarter the year before. Moise did say he had found someone to lead Medium Giant, an operation that is not well defined. It is the only business the company owns beyond the Dallas Morning News.
DallasNews management has made a great deal of its full-service agency, Medium Giant. The division is not broken out in the P&L. There is no way to determine whether it is successful. In a recent SEC filing, management wrote, “In 2022 Medium Giant retained 84 percent of its top 25 marketing services clients, which is notable because it means we are helping them reach their marketing goals.” Without revenue, the statement means little.
The fate of DallasNews is in the hands of its controlling shareholder, Robert W. Decherd, who owns 92% of the Series B shares. (Dechert recently stepped down as executive board chair, and John A. Beckert took the position of non-executive chair.) Moise owns only 6,308 shares (less than 1%), showing the extent of his desire to own part of his corporation. No other board members have significant stock ownership. Directors make $105,000 a year to attend four meetings.
Decherd should take care of the company’s other shareholders properly. DallasNews can be sold with balance sheet adjustments for more than its market value. The stock has almost no chance to trade above its 52-week high. Management pay is shockingly high. DallasNews is too small to be an independent media company, particularly when it has to compensate its CEO $1.4 million to preside over a series of financial report failures.
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