Berkshire Shares: 1.74 million
YTD Returns: 15%
In the latest Berkshire Hathaway investment shares stock report, the number of shares in USA TODAY publisher Gannett (NYSE:GCI) remains unchanged. But earlier in the year, Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway made headlines for big buys in the newspaper industry, apparently banking on a rebirth in these picks — including maintaining a big stake in Gannett. Buffett also has recently taken a stake in smaller newspaper stock Lee Enterprises (NYSE:LEE).
Though share performance admittedly is sketchy thanks to the digital age and general pressures on print media, Gannett’s dividend focus is clear. GCI just pushed its dividend up 500% in roughly a year! GCI stock was paying a mere 4 cents per quarter in July 2011, then upped its dividend to 8 cents in October and finally to 20 cents a quarter starting this spring. What’s more, with earnings of well over $2 per share, the payout ratio as a portion of profits is very maintainable.
Also worth noting: Gannett dividends have been in force since 1929, so this is a company with a long history of paying back shareholders.