Tribune Media 'Exploring Strategic Alternatives' As It Releases Q4 Financials
February 29, 2016 at 5:40 AM (PT)
TRIBUNE MEDIA's fourth-quarter financial report came with additional news: the company said that its board has "initiated a process to explore the full range of strategic and financial alternatives to enhance shareholder value." The statement added that "The strategic and financial alternatives under consideration include, but are not limited to, the sale or separation of select lines of business or assets, strategic partnerships, programming alliances and return of capital initiatives;" the company previously announced program to sell off its real estate holdings, including CHICAGO's TRIBUNE TOWER and part of the LOS ANGELES TIMES property in downtown LOS ANGELES. No timetable has been set for completion of the review of its alternatives; MOELIS AND CO. and GUGGENHEIM SECURITIES have been retained as financial advisors.
Chairman BRUCE KARSH said, "The Board of Directors and management remain focused on maximizing shareholder value. We believe that the value of the portfolio of businesses of TRIBUNE MEDIA is not fully reflected in the stock price and intend to explore ways to unlock value by reviewing strategic alternatives. At the same time, we remain committed to achieving strong operational performance across our businesses."
As for fourth quarter, TRIBUNE MEDIA consolidated operating revenues fell 1% to $547.6 million, blamed on the off-cycle political year; excluding the impact of political advertising, revenues increased 8%. Fourth-quarter consolidated operating loss widened to $382.2 million, attributed to higher programming expenses including a broadcast rights impairment charge, a decrease in political ad revenue, and the absence of a 2014 $21 million pre-tax gain on the sale of a BALTIMORE property, partially offset by higher retransmission consent and carriage fee revenues. Diluted loss per common share from continuing operations widened from $3.14 to $4.07; Adjusted diluted earnings per share fell from 81 to 63 cents. Results for the company's sole radio property, News-Talk WGN-A/CHICAGO and its WGN PLUS digital operation, are not disclosed in the financial statements.