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NASDAQ threatens to delist Emmis stock

September 21, 2009

NASDAQ has notified Emmis Communications Corp. that it is in danger of being delisted if the company’s stock doesn’t rise above the minimum bid price of $1 per share within the next six months.

Shares of the Indianapolis-based media company, which closed Friday at 90 cents apiece, haven’t traded above $1 since September 2008.

NASDAQ suspended its minimum-stock-price requirement rule last fall after financial markets tanked, but reinstated the rule Aug. 3. It put Emmis on notice Sept. 15 because its stock had traded below the benchmark for at least 30 consecutive business days. 

In order to regain compliance, Emmis stock must trade above the $1 per share minimum bid price for 10 consecutive business days before March 15, or face delisting.

Emmis can appeal any decision to delist its shares, the company said.

“The company intends to actively evaluate and monitor the bid price for its Class A common stock between now and March 15, 2010, and consider implementation of various options available to the company if its Class A common stock does not trade at a level that is likely to regain compliance,” Emmis said in a written statement issued Friday.

At the company’s July 14 annual meeting, Emmis executives confirmed they were considering one strategy to raise their stock price–executing a reverse stock split.

A reverse split may help the company avoid a delisting because each share would be worth more, but it wouldn't make investors any richer, since the total value of their stock would remain unchanged. In a one-for-20 reverse split, for instance, an investor holding 100 shares valued at 25 cents apiece would end up with five shares valued at $5 each.

Emmis has faced financial difficulties recently. It reported a quarterly profit in July, but only after buying back a big chunk of its own debt on the cheap. The company turned a profit of $7.5 million for the fiscal first quarter ended May 31, compared with a loss of $1 million a year earlier.

Revenue, however, dropped from $85.3 million to $62.4 million.

In the latest fiscal year ended Feb. 28, Emmis lost $283.9 million, or $7.81 per share.
 

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