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Nexstar Income Jumps After Tribune Acquisition

(Image credit: Nexstar)

Nexstar Media Group reported a big jump in earnings and revenue as it continues to absorb its acquisition of Tribune Media.

Net income rose 46% to $99.6 million, or $2.29 a share in the quarter from $68 million, or $1.42 a share, a year ago. 

Net revenue was up 40.9% to $914.6 million. 

Total ad revenue was up 18.1% to $319.8 million, with “core” ad revenue up 11.4% to $298.2 million and political ad revenue up 583% to $21.6 million. Digital revenue was down.

Distribution revenue jumped 70.7% to $536.5 million as retransmission fees increased and WGN America, acquired from Tribune, was included in distribution negotiations.

“Nexstar’s industry leading scale and diversified business model combined with solid execution in a challenging environment resulted in record second quarter results with net revenue, profitability, and cash flow metrics all well above consensus expectations,” said CEO Perry Sook. 

“Notably, our enterprise-wide focus on managing operations for current and future cash flow enabled us to bring about 21% of every net revenue dollar to the free cash flow line,” Sook said. He noted that advertising improved from April to May and again from May to June and that second-quarter pro forma same stations fixed expenses, excluding programming expenses were down 18% as the company absorbed the Tribune stations.

“Looking ahead to the third quarter, while the pandemic continues to impact commercial advertising, we are seeing the same pattern of month over month improvement in our pacing data and will benefit from significantly increased levels of political ad spending beginning in September,” Sook said. “Overall, we are encouraged by early signs of recovery across our station footprint, as nearly all of our markets have reopened in some form and key economic indicators, including employment and consumer spending, are improving.”