Newspaper Bankruptcy Watch: Lee Enterprises

I’ve written before about the woes at Lee Enterprises, the nation’s fourth biggest newspaper chain, which has been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

Editor & Publisher reports today that not everyone has lost faith in Lee:

The California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) is not only jumping into LEE, it owns more than a 5% stake. Its approximately 2.01 shares are 5.16% of shares outstanding. A Lee spokesman confirms CalSTRS seems to be a new holder, and the SEC shows no similar filing going back more than a year.

I’ve been pretty down on Lee, but this gave me some second thoughts. CalSTRS is the second largest pension fund in the United States, with $129 billion in assets at the beginning of the year.

There’s  still an enormous amount of pessimism on Lee Enterprises. The shares are trading around 25 cents and a quarter of the float (shares available) are being shorted. So what does CalSTRS know that the street doesn’t?

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