Scripps Reports 2Q Loss on Acquisition Costs

E.W. Scripps Co. reported a loss in the second-quarter because of higher interest and other costs from acquisitions.

The company lost $366,000 in the quarter, or 1 cent per share, compared to net income of $5.7 million, or 6 cents a share a year ago.

Operating income slipped to $22.2 million from $22.4 million

Pre-tax costs for the current quarter included $2.8 million of acquisition and related integration costs and $1 million of restructuring charges that increased the loss by $2.8 million, net of taxes, or 3 cents per share.

Revenue rose 19% to $337 million. That includes revenue from Triton, acquired Nov. 30, 2018, of $9.9 million, and revenues from the television stations acquired from Raycom Media, effective Jan. 1, and from Cordillera Communications, effective May 1, totaling $31.3 million.

Local media profit was $54.3 million, up from $53.4 million a year ago.

Revenue from local media rose 11% to $237 million. Retransmission revenue increased 24% to $91.5 million. Core advertising jumped 15% to $140 million, thanks to station acquisitions. Political revenue was down $13 million.

Adjusted for the acquisitions, local media profit was $57.5 million, down from $71 million a year ago. Revenue fell 4.3% to $249 million as political advertising dropped $19 million in a non-election year. Core advertising was down slightly while retransmission revenue rose 10%.

Profit for Scripps’ National Media business rose to $6.6 million from $2 million a year ago. Revenue rose to $91.9 million from $66.2 million, driven by the Triton acquisition in the fourth quarter and investments in the Katz Networks, Stitcher and Newsy.

The company said it expected local media revenue to be down in the low to mid-teens in the third quarter.

“We were very pleased to deliver stronger-than-expected financial results in the second quarter,” said CEO Adam Symson. “Instrumental to our short-term performance improvement plan is our aggressive pursuit of a clearly articulated M&A strategy that will help us build a more powerful and durable portfolio of television stations.”

The company will have 26 television stations in the top 50 markets, giving the company a strong and varied economic base, Sympson said.

“Looking to the back half of the year, our focus remains on producing strong financial results and aggressively executing our strategies to build long-term value across our many consumer media platforms while also improving our near-term operating performance,” he said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.