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Lee Enterprises Annual Meeting

During a brief and routine annual meeting Thursday, shareholders of Lee Enterprises heard a presentation by company leaders, then re-elected three directors. The 14-minute meeting for the Davenport-based newspaper publisher followed a so-far unsuccessful hostile takeover attempt by hedge fund Alden Global Capital.

Chairman Mary Junck says no one from Alden attended the meeting and she can't speculate on what might happen next.

"The company is focused on driving our digital transformation strategy, delivering strong local journalism, as well as providing value to all of our shareholders. That was the main message of the meeting, I would say."

President and CEO Kevin Mowbray says Lee has a bright future.

"Our digital only subscriber growth exceeded the industry exceptionally for the last 12 quarters, beating both Gannett and the New York Times. And then our digital agency revenue growth is also industry-leading, and that revenue is up about 45 per cent."

It owns daily newspapers, weeklies, and specialty publications in 77 markets in 26 states, while the would-be buyer, Alden Global Capital, owns more than 200 newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune.

"And we've got a very detailed five year strategic plan that we're right in the middle of executing and as I said we've made good progress. We feel that there's a lot of upside on the stock."

In November, Lee rejected Alden's offer of 24 dollars a share, and Lee shares are currently trading around 30 dollars. Another hedge fund that owns shares in the company believes they should be worth 100 dollars or more.

Lee's newspapers include the Quad City Times, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Bloomington (il.) Pantagraph, and the Omaha World-Herald.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois. While a graduate student in the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield (then known as Sangamon State University), he got his first taste of public radio, covering Illinois state government for WUIS. Here in the Quad Cities, Herb worked for WHBF Radio before coming to WVIK in 1987. Herb also produces the weekly public affairs feature Midwest Week – covering the news behind the news by interviewing reporters about the stories they cover.