Saturday, October 13, 2007

Metro losses double; Will some editions go?

Metro International, publisher of free dailies worldwide, has announced that its third-quarter losses will reach $18 million, double the amount in the same quarter last year.

Chairman Dennis Malamatinas said the board is "identifying core markets where Metro should continue to invest." That statement suggests the board will also pick markets where it will pull the plug on money-losing papers.

Metro appears to be in a free fall without a permanent chief executive at the helm. Longtime chief executive Pelle Törnberg, who officially left July 31, unofficially had been out the door months earlier. The new CEO, Per Mikael Jensen, won't start until November 1, the earliest date he could be released from his job as the top executive of Denmark's government TV network. Yet the statement issued Friday makes it clear that the board is beginning to stem losses before Jensen takes over.

By the way, of the $18 milllion in losses, $5 million were attributed to Törnberg's departure and "consultancy costs." Quite a golden parachute for the CEO of a company that has only made money in one of its 12 years of existence.