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Tegna Boosts Dividend 30% to 38 Cents a Share Annually

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(Image credit: IronHeart via Getty Images)

Tegna said its board approved raising its quarterly dividend by 2.5 cents per quarter, or about 30%.

The first quarterly dividend at the new rate of of 9.5 cents per share will be payable on July 1 to stockholders of record at the close on June 4. 

Tegna has been under pressure from investor Standard General, which is seeking seats on the Tegna board after losing a proxy contest. One of Standard General’s nominees was former FCC official and top ad association executive Adonis Hoffman-who figures in a recent Tegna controversy.

Hoffman, who is Black, withdrew his nomination, citing possible conflicts with clients -- he is currently a consultant -- and an incident in 2014 when David Lougee, then Tegna’s president, mistook him for a valet.  Lougee is now CEO.

Lougee apologized for the incident

“Our announcement today reflects our Board’s commitment to actively reviewing all options to create value for our shareholders, the continued execution of our long-term strategy, and the confidence in our continued strong performance and growth, which combined, led to our decision to increase our annual dividend,” said Howard D. Elias, chairman of Tegna's board. 

Lougee said Tegna was reiterating its financial guidance for the first quarter and for all of 2021. He said first-quarter revenue is expected to be at the high end of what the company expects. 

The revenue growth includes advertising and marketing services growth in the high single digits for the quarter and full-year growth in the mid- to high teens for subscription revenue following new distribution agreements being signed at the end of 2020 covering about 35% of the company’s pay TV viewers.

“The strength of our business, improved durability of our cash flows, and continued commitment to prudent expense management drove the decision to increase our quarterly dividend, which will result in a significant increase from our previous dividend payment,” Lougee said.