Tuesday, October 19, 2004

More on Sinclair

This story is moving like wildfire. Richard reported on the shareholder group, but there are other strong attacks on Sinclair from other stockholders, and also from other sources. Newsday has a good article, and this stuff is going to lead the news tonight, not focused on Kerry any longer, but focused on some men who sold their stocks in January then set out on a political agenda they knew would depress the price. It listed at 15 in January, and is currently at $6.35. I think the Securities and Exchange Commission will listen to institutional investors like the New York State Common Retirement Fund, don't you?
In midday trading, Sinclair shares were off another 2 percent Tuesday, dropping 14 cents to $6.35 a share on the NASDAQ exchange. Sinclair stock dropped about 8 percent on Monday.

In his letter to Sinclair, New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, a Democrat, said the $115 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund holds 256,600 shares of Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. and questioned the impact of showing "Stolen Honor" on the value of the shares.

Among the questions raised in the letter, a copy of which was provided to The Associated Press: the cost of foregoing an hour of commercial time to show the documentary; how many advertisers have pulled their spots from Sinclair stations and how much that has cost the company; and the impact on ratings.

"Given the stock's already poor performance, it would seem that any bad news would risk reducing investor interest and, thus, risk a lower stock price," the letter reads.

Hevesi said only three of the company's directors appear to meet NASDAQ's independence criteria and notes Sinclair shares have dropped from $15.02 in January to below $7, while other stocks in the sector have increased.

"Some critics suggest that Sinclair management is more interested in advancing its partisan political views than in protecting shareholder value. They say Sinclair's partisan agenda also risks alienating viewers, advertisers and regulators," Hevesi wrote.

"By appearing to tie the future prospects of the company so closely to the outcome of a national election, are you adding political risk to the normal economic and business risks that face our company?"

The cool thing is this will be financial news, and the political talking head stuff. And it will focus on lawbreaking, insider trading and the like.

Michael Powell should have stood up, grown a set, and done something, because this story is going to piss off some Wall Street types. And don't kid yourselves that they are all so conservative. They live in New York and New Jersey, and some of the best, like Jon Corzine, are Democrats.
Edit by SpinDentist: 2:37
Another press conference call is going on now. The producers of "Going Upriver" are offering to buy commercial time to air the film on the Sinclair Groups stations:

Deborah Rappaport will discuss her offer to the Sinclair Broadcasting Group to purchase time to air the highly regarded film "Going Upriver; The Long War of John Kerry," as a balance to the broadcasting of an anti-John Kerry film, which Sinclair is planning to air on its 62 television stations.

Investors and philanthropists Andrew and Deborah Rappaport of Redwood City, CA, have contacted the Baltimore-based chain, seeking to inject fair play into its plan to show a 42-minute film called "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal."

Ms. Rappaport will be joined by the executive producers of "Going Upriver," Vincent Roberti and Bill Samuels on the conference call.

For further information on Going Upriver: http://www.goingupriver.com

WHO: Deborah Rappaport, Bill Samuels and Vincent Roberti

WHAT: Telephone News Conference

WHEN: Tuesday, October 19, 2:30 p.m. EDT

WHERE: Dial-In for Reporters: 1-800-362-0574, conf. ID: Sinclair.

I'm at work so can't call, but if any of you can try, please feel free.