Tribune parent delisted, weekly paper may be sold

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Recent published reports said Finkelstein, who took...

By Adam Kramer

A little less than a month after News Communications Inc., owners of the Queens Tribune, was delisted from Nasdaq, James Finkelstein was appointed president and chief executive officer of the company.

Recent published reports said Finkelstein, who took over on June 5, plans to sell all of the company’s New York City weekly newspapers. He could not be reached to comment on the reports.

But his father, Jerry Finkelstein, who is the company’s chairman of the board, said he did not know what his son plans to do with the papers.

Newspaper reports said James Finkelstein had planned to take the company private, then sell the Queens Tribune and the company’s other weeklies, except for The Hill, a Washington weekly that covers Congress, and Dan’s Papers, which reports on the arts and entertainment in the Hamptons.

“The news is my son just became head man,” Jerry Finkelstein told the TimesLedger Tuesday. “He just came in last week. I don’t know his plans. He just came in.”

The company recently sold its eight Long Island weekly newspapers — which had been consolidated from 12 papers published under The Record banner — to Herald Community Newspapers of Lawrence for an undisclosed price. In its first-quarter earnings report, News Communications said it received $275,000 in cash from the sale.

Last year the company sold its weekly newspapers in the Bronx and Brooklyn.

For the opening quarter of this year New Communicat­ions’ net loss widened to $1.37 million from a red-ink figure of $547,305 in the first three months last year. Revenues dropped 15.3 percent to $3.34 million from $3.94 million in the 2000 January-March span.

On May 15 the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel removed News Communications Inc. from its SmallCap Market because the company did not meet the criteria to remain listed.

Over a 52-week period up to May 7, News Communications stock had a trading range from 28 cents a share to $1.62. On the May 7, the last trading day, the stock was selling for 31 cents a share.

If a stock trades below $1 a share for 30 days, it is in danger of being delisted.

In a May 16 news release, News Communications said it “is presently evaluating its alternatives, which include appealing the decision or seeking to have its shares quoted on the OTC Bulletin Board.”

News Communications was formed in 1986 when Finkelstein started snapping up weekly papers in the city. He bought the Queens Tribune from U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) in 1989.

On May 1 when reports began to circulate that the Queens Tribune had been sold, Jerry Finkelstein had said News Communications still owned the paper but would consider selling it for the right price.

“It has not been sold,” he said at the time. “If offered a big purchase price, we would consider it, but I doubt it.”

Ackerman’s spokesman, Jordan Goldes, said the congressman still owns stock in News Communications but no longer sits on its board of directors. Ackerman stepped down two years ago, he said.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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