Mike Fourcher opened another financial analysis, this time of the Sun-Times Media Group at his excellent blog Vouchification. It is much harder, as Mike notes, to put a dollar value on a company that is potentially in debt beyond all its assets to the Internal Revenue Service. Along with the cash burn, these are two issues that anyone looking to buy the Sun-Times Media Group would need to consider.
In other words, what is the future tax burden on the assets and second, how much cash does it need to survive till it turns around, if ever?
It's an issue I've taken on here multiple times, particularly the cash burn of the STMG.
Mike's brushes past the analysis of circulation, noting
“Clearly the Sun Times is faring the worst of the publications, with the highest annual percentage losses, while the three biggest suburban papers, the SouthtownStar, Herald News and Post-Tribune have mostly stable circulations.”
It is something I've been brushing past too. Here's the issue: after years of circulation dropping at the Sun-Times and a major circulation scandal, where numbers were pumped up, in the latest FAS-FAX report, the Sun-Times trumped most of the publishing world by INCREASING its circulation. That's right, in the April FAS-FAX report they reported numbers were improving! Up 3.8 percent while most of the rest of the newspaper world was down.
The next FAS-FAX report is issued in October. It will be interesting to see if the Sun-Times sustains those numbers.