Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Big Money

Executive pay makes an interesting story, especially when a company is in trouble. But as you discovered on your Internet hunt, coming up with a figure isn't so easy. That's because bottom line depends on what you decide to include as compensation.

Travis Poling, a business reporter for San Antonio’s Express-News, offers this formula for assessing executive compensation:

Salary + Bonuses + LTIP (long-term investment payouts) + Other Annual compensation + All Other Compensation + Value Realized from Stock Options (profits from company stock CEO's have actuall sold ove the past year.)

You’ll find this information on a report public companies file annually called a “Proxy Statement.” The SEC calls it DEF-14A. The report is usually filed before a company’s annual shareholder’s meeting, and it includes tables with information you can plug into Poling’s formula.

Using Poling's forumla, here’s what I learned about Mary Junck compensation for the latest available year (2004):

Salary -- $ 750,000
Bonus -- $1,080,000
Other-- $ 242,800
Stock Options Sold -- $ 863,900
Total -- $2,261,700

That’s a fair number, though it doesn’t include the value of all Lee stock she’s holds but has yet to sell.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Fifteen Questions

Congratulations. You've just been hired as second banana on the Missoulian's business desk. It's your first day on the job, and your boss has just told you that Lee Enterprises, the Missoulian's owner, has announced that it is moving its corporate headquarters from Davenport, Iowa, to Missoula. (Not really. It's just an exercise in backgrounding a business.)

Your boss will contact Lee officials in Iowa to do the main story on the reasons for the move and the consequences for Missoula.

Your job is gather information for a sidebar, perhaps a big graphic. You've got the rest of this class period to provide that information in the form of a comment to the blog. You may use any sources short of calling Lee or its employees. Cite your sources. Be sure they're authoritative.

The questions:
  • How many newspapers does Lee Enterprises own? What's Lee's total daily circulation?
  • What's its biggest paper? What's its circulation? How has the paper itself been in the news lately?
  • Who are Lee's top corporate officials?
  • How much was its top official paid in 2004?
  • What's Lee's stock selling for today?
  • How much revenue did the company report on its most recent annual report?
  • Lee is not forecasting normal earnings over the next few years. Why?
  • How old is the company? Who is its founder? How did its connection to Montana come about?
  • Are there any independent business analyst who follow Lee? Name a couple.
  • What's the most unusual fact you've found to spice up the profile?