How the media is reporting the Fairfax figures

As Mumbrella reported earlier today, Fairfax Media has written down the value of its mastheads by nearly half a billion dollars in its half yearly results.  

But its results are just good enough to stave off a collapse in the company’s already weak share price, says Tim Boreham in The Australian:  

“McCarthy did what every CEO under the pump should do and channelled the Winston Churchill spirit. ‘For now, we have battened down the hatches and we will ride this storm out,’ he declared. Fairfax shares bounced up and down by a few cents this morning: there wasn’t enough bad news to force the already pummelled share price much lower, but not enough good tidings to encourage a bounce.”

And Stephen Bartholomeusz in Business Spectator takes a similarly temperate view:

S”etting to one side the $541.4 million of write-downs of masthead and license values, goodwill and restructuring charges, the underlying drop in net profit of 23 per cent was only slightly worse than analysts’ forecasts and at an underlying level the 11.6 per cent fall in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was, in the circumstances, relatively modest.”

However, Bloomberg suggests that there is more deterioration yet to come.

Meanwhile, Crikey’s Glen Dyer flags up the language used by Fairfax:

“Fairfax has an unfortunate way with words for a company deeply involved in their use every day. Remember how the discredited former CEO Fred Hilmer described journalists as “content producers”? Well the current managers are just as unsmart as the unlamented Fred was with words. In a presentation to analysts, the assets being written down were described as ‘Cash Generating Units’ or CGU.”


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