Newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises Inc. is seeking shareholder approval for a reverse stock split that would combine as many as five shares into one.
The company outlined the proposal in a proxy statement filed Monday. Lee is seeking the authority to combine "not less than two and not more than five shares" into one. Shareholders will have about six weeks to vote on the proposal. Votes will be counted shortly after Lee's annual shareholders meeting on March 21.
If shareholders approve, Lee's board of directors will have until June 30 to decide whether to do a reverse split.
A reverse stock split would push the price of Lee's stock well above the $1 minimum required of companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Lee's stock closed down 5 cents, or 4.4 percent, at $1.10 on Monday.
Lee said the reverse split _and subsequent stock price increase_ could also make the company's shares attractive to a wider range of investors.
The publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and nearly 50 other newspapers emerged from a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy process last week. The process allowed Lee to complete the restructuring of about $1 billion in debt.