NBCUniversal has sold off 5.2 million shares of stock in-home exercise equipment and media company Peloton for $177.9 million, about half of its stake in the business. The sale comes as NBCUniversal seeks cash and liquidity during the COVID-19 crisis. The company also has significant debt obligations following its parent company Comcast’s $39 billion deal for European pay-TV service Sky in 2018, and the expenses incurred in the launch of its Peacock streaming service. At the time of the sale, Peloton’s stock had seen a 10.5 percent year-to-date increase in its share price to $34.21, compared with a 15.3 percent dip for the S&P 500, according to Barron’s. Last year, NBCUniversal shed its $500 million stake in camera and social media company Snap.
Tribune Publishing has instituted mandatory three-week furloughs for non-union employees earning between $40,000 and $67,000 a year. On April 9, the company announced pay cuts of up to 10 percent for non-union employees with annual salaries above $67,000. In a memo, Tribune CEO Terry Jimenez said the company may later implement additional furloughs or extend the length of time for positions “disproportionately affected by the slowdown.” He did offer those affected a choice, however. “Employees will, alternatively, have the option to apply to leave the company and receive severance in lieu of the furlough,” he said. Tribune’s move follows the April 20 announcement that Meredith would be temporarily cutting pay by 15 to 40 percent for more than half of its employees from May 4 to Sept. 4. The company is also pausing its stock dividends until the advertising situation rebounds. In addition, Vox Media, the owner of New York magazine as well as digital assets that include Recode, SB Nation and The Verge, is furloughing nine percent of its employees from May 1 to July 31. It is also freezing wages through the end of the year and trimming executive salaries from 15 to 50 percent.
Executive Media Global, an extension of Australian publishing house Executive Media, has come up with an initiative to help niche print magazines find a way around declines in newsstand and bookstore sales. MagBox will send out a bundle of five publications (including their own magazines as well as those from other publishers) every two months for prices ranging from $44.99 for one box to $39.99 per box for a one-year subscription. The publications in the first box, which is to be delivered in June, include Fifty Grande (which “explores the U.S through travel, music and food”), EMG’s ROVA (which centers on road vacations) and Sandwich (“a celebration of the often overlooked, but universally beloved, culinary creation”). “If we can help other publishers get their magazines into people’s hands while doing the same for our own, we’re helping to support and strengthen magazine media,” EMG publisher and editor-in-chief Gemma Peckham told Folio.