Friday, 22 June 2007

Say what?


A few readers have come to the rescue, sort of, in trying to make sense of a Sun Media/Quebecor press release.

Says one anonymous TSF reader:

"Hi there,

"I won't promise I'm 100% right, but I cover business in Alberta and if I read that release right . . . it means that recently Sun Media changed its accounting practices to reflect more closely with Canadian GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices).

"Canadian and U.S. GAAP are similar, but slightly different (don't ask me to explain, I just know they are). As such, the company had to restate financial earnings with the U.S. SEC. Those impacts are listed in the releases.

"Bottom line? The restated earnings show the company's debt to be higher and earning less than before the GAAP re-statement, but it's a not a severe blow or anything. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

"But I agree the release was written for accountants not journalists."

Laura Bobak, a former Toronto Sun staffer now at Canadian Press, and blogger Dennis Earl e-mailed Canadian Press version of the story.

Said Laura:

"Here's what Canadian Press had on it: (I didn't write it myself but it's in the CP database). "Essentially, they had to go back and revise the way they had reported their results under U.S. accounting principles. Impact explained below."

Said Dennis: "I think this is what you were looking for, regarding an explanation about that Quebecor press release.

"Hope this helps. Take care."

Well, thank you readers. We appreciate the feedback, but as press releases go, this one made little sense to anyone other than a few bookkeepers.

The original posting:

Wanted: One astute, bean counting accountant to give us the bottom line on this press release from Quebecor/Sun Media.

We found it on Marketwire, but we haven't a clue about what it all means. It has something to do with the U.S. and the GAAP and "Fair Value Hedge Relations" and Form 6-K/A etc.

It is also at, but no help there in explaining it to the financially challenged.

It is the most perplexing press release we've seen in years and we've seen quite a few.

Where's Morty Shulman when you need him? He used to be a phone call away for Toronto Sun reporters writing about financial matters and is sadly missed.

Or Garth Turner, perhaps.

Maybe Linda Leatherdale will decipher the press release for us in her next column.

In a nutshell, just what does it all mean? Is the sky falling?

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