CanWest will cut 5% of its work force, mostly out of its print division.
CP re-writes the press release, neglecting to mention the cuts to newspapers:
UPDATE (Thursday morning): Bay Street's reaction to the cuts? The stock hit another all-time low this morning, 82 cents at 11 a.m. Then 75 cents at 3 p.m. before taking a dead-cat bounce to 80 cents.
I guess the Street is no more impressed by gutted papers and crappy TV than I am.
What does it mean? CanWest is reducing the physical size of some papers and is going to concentrate even more on centralizing its news and bumpf writing and will send out even more canned material to fill its papers. It makes the situation at the Montreal Gazette very interesting. There, a strike looms over CanWest’s plan to move pagination (page layout) of the paper from Montreal to a non-unionized facility in the lovely city of Hamilton.
There are also unspecified cuts coming at the National Post. The Aspers, as we already knew, are pulling the paper out of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. They also plan to end cheap subscription deals like mine. I get the Post for $6 a month.
Meanwhile, the stock hit another historic low today: 84 cents -- about 10% of what is was in the summer of 2007. This comes in the wake of Fairfax Holding’s recent announcement that it was increasing its stake in CanWest. Fairfax has been buying all the way down and will hold about a quarter of the company’s stock, making Fairfax guru Prem Watsa a sort of fourth Asper child. The company is now running more than two weeks late with its reporting of the last quarter’s financials, and it’s pretty clear Bay Street – those few brokers and analysts, other than Fairfax, that actually care anymore – don’t think they’ll be pretty.
Sorry that my own work has lately kept me too busy to stay on top of recent developments. I'll look over this week's financials as carefully as I can.