Meredith raises dividend


Despite the negative pacings for this quarter that Meredith Corporation reported for both its magazines and television stations, the company’s board of directors announced an increase in its dividend payout. The 4.7% increase – a penny per share – brings the quarterly dividend to 22 and a half cents.

"This dividend increase reflects our confidence in Meredith’s strong national and local brands, solid connection to the consumer, and ability to grow market share. Additionally, we maintain a conservative financial structure and have a track record of strong cash flow generation," said Meredith President and CEO Stephen M. Lacy.

Meredith’s announcement noted that the company has paid a dividend for 62 consecutive years and has increased its dividend for 16 consecutive years. Prior to the announcement, the previous annual dividend of 86 cents worked out to a yield of 5.4% based on Friday’s closing price. The new annual payout is 90 cents per share.

The new dividend is payable on March 13, 2009 to shareholders of record on February 27, 2009.

RBR/TVBR observation: When McGraw-Hill increased its dividend last week, we said you weren’t likely to see many similar headlines. But just a few days later Meredith did the same. How much will paying out four cents more per year to each shareholder take out of the Meredith coffers? The company has a little over 45 million shares outstanding, so the tally is just over $1.8 million. But when you are cutting costs every bit helps.