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E.W. Scripps Reports Lower 4th Quarter Earnings

The E.W. Scripps Co. reported lower fourth-quarter profits following the acquisitions of 26 stations in 2019.

Net income fell to $10.6 million, or 13 cents a share, from $22 million, or 27 cents per share, a year ago.

The results included $3.3 million of acquisition and related integrated costs that reduced income by $2.5 million.

Revenue rose 21% to $444 million.

Scripps Local Media division registered a $79. Million profit, down from $98.7 million a year ago. Retransmission revenue increased 42% to $111 million. Core ad revenue increased 67% to $199 million. Fourth quarter political advertising was $15 million, which was higher than expected by down from $82 million in last year’s midterm elections.

Adjusted for last year’s acquisitions, profit fell to $79.7 million, compared to $152 million a year earlier. Revenue was down 21% with core advertising up 4.7%.

At the company’s national media division, revenue was nearly $400 million. The Katz networks reported a 22% increase in revenue.

For 2020, the company expects local media revenue to be up in the low teens, national media revenue to be between $105 and $110 million.

“The E.W. Scripps Company has positioned itself exceedingly well to thrive in the media landscape by working a plan dedicated to executing for near-term operating results and long-term value creation,” said CEO Adam Symson.

“The M&A work of the last year grew the company’s scale just ahead of the reset our Comcast retransmission fees and the renegotiating of another 40% of our cable and satellite subscriber base this spring. We expect our National Media division to run ahead of our previous revenue targets of $500 million in 2021,” he said. “We remain committed to a balanced approach to allocating capital through acquisitions and dividends, and we now have a new share repurchase authorization in place. Looking ahead, we are focused on high cash flow this year as we benefit from the creation of a more durable and better-performing company.”