McClatchy Suspends 401(k) Match

Newspaper chain McClatchy joins the ranks of other struggling media companies by suspending its 401(k) match.

The Sacramento, California-based newspaper chain announced Thursday it was also freezing its defined benefit plans after having undertaken several rounds of cost cuts in recent months. The new cost-cutting target was $100 million to $110 million that the company said could include more layoffs in addition to those already carried out, according to the McClatchy-owned Sacramento Bee.

The announcement came with word fourth-quarter revenue fell 17.9% from a year earlier, to $470.9 million, and advertising sales dropped 20.7%.

The company also revealed that it is in danger of being de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange because its stock price has fallen below $1 in the past few weeks.

In a statement, Chairman and Chief Executive Gary Pruitt said: “2008 was a difficult and disappointing year. We faced troubled economic times and structural changes in our business.” He said 2009 is off to a rough start, with January “slower than the fourth quarter … We don’t have any better sense than other market observers as to how long the current recession will last and we do not yet have visibility of revenue trends.”

Last month McClatchy said it would halt shareholder dividends as of April 1, a move that will save $60 million a year.