Media Giant Lifts 401K Restrictions

February 20, 2002 ( - Participants in Gannett Co.'s 401(k) plan can now sell any of their plan assets without restriction, the media company announced.

The move overrules the Gannett plan’s traditional curb¬†that employees couldn’t sell shares of company stock they received as company match until they were age 55.

Gannett’s announcement comes as giant Houston energy trader Enron sits in the middle of a continuing controversy. The controversy focuses among other things on employee allegations they were improperly pressured into buying company stock and then blocked from selling it when its value began plummeting last year.

Gannet Plan

The plan has 12 investment options including a company match Gannett stock fund and a Gannett stock fund allowing voluntary share purchases.

Gannett officials said the plan now includes 13.5% of its assets in the company match stock fund and another 10% of plan assets in the voluntary stock fund, which has traditionally been free of trading restrictions.

A number of lawmakers in Congress have also introduced pension reform measures, some including mandates against company stock trading curbs.