Investor Unloading Morning News Stock

Prying open the board room door

A clever move by a peripheral member of the G. B. Deal-ey family may soon give outsiders their first look at the fiscal secrets of the A. H. Belo Corporation. Belo owns The Dallas Morning News, Channel 8, and a host of other media properties.

Gordon Jackson, a cousin of the Dealeys who has been excluded from company leadership, is in effect having a garage sale to unload some of his 112,250 shares of Belo stock. Jackson’s scheme is to sell enough three-share lots – at $90 apiece – to drive the number of Belo stockholders up above 500. Reason: Companies with more than 500 stockholders are subject to extensive SEC reporting standards, which Belo has so far avoided.

If Jackson succeeds, the crack in the Belo board room door will be wider than ever. The company will have many more stockholders at its annual meetings, the kind of stockholders who are likely to ask all sorts of new questions. Because of the SEC regulations, Belo would have to report its financial condition quarterly, and report profits from each of its various interests – broadcasting, newspapers, and manufacturing – separately. Perhaps most important, Belo will have to report any material changes in its business, including ownership.

At the moment. 54 percent of the Belo stock is controlled by the three families that manage the company, the Deal-eys, the Decherds, and the Moroneys. Some outsiders are speculating that no major changes in stock ownership will occur among the three families until the Belo board decides who will replace the company’s president, Joe Deal-ey Sr. Dealey is expected to retire in two or three years.

Jackson’s prospectus has already unearthed some intriguing information, like an outline of the family stock ownership and a list of the salaries and bonuses of Belo’s top executives. Tops in 1977 was president Joe Dealey, at $231,000 plus $223,000 in stock dividends. Executive vice president Jim Moroney Jr. drew a $210,000 salary and a $136,000 bonus. Belo Broad-casting president Mike Shapi-ro’s 1977 salary and bonus to-talled $169,000.

The first look at the Belo ex-ecutive salaries suggests that the company’s leaders are not underpaid. Dealey’s salary, for instance, is about 60 per-cent of that of Times Mirror Corporation chairman Frank-lin Murphy, who heads a pub-lishing empire 13 times larger than Belo.


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