CBS LOOKS AHEAD TO RADIO MERGER IN FOURTH-QUARTER REPORT.

Lifted by political ad sales CBS Radio reports its revenue grew 1.9% to $328 million during the fourth quarter of 2016. The gain came as the division prepares to be rolled into Entercom Communications as part of a pending merger.
“When completed, this transaction will allow us to focus even more on our core content strength and enable our faster-growing revenue to drive our results like never before,” CBS chief executive Les Moonves told investors today.

The split-off will be done in a complex two-step process that will allow CBS to avoid paying taxes on the sale of its stations. The company says the transaction is expected to close in the second half of this year once the deal has been approved by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice.

Overall revenue at CBS declined 2% during the fourth quarter to $3.52 billion. CBS says part of the decline was attributed to its television network having three fewer “Thursday Night Football” games as well as lower ratings on the NFL games that it did have. Overall advertising revenue was down 3% across all divisions during the quarter even as local television stations benefited from political ad dollars. CBS’ quarterly profit fell 47% mainly because of a one-time pension settlement charge that allowed eligible former employees the option to receive the present value of their pension benefits as a lump-sum distribution. That cost CBS a total of $211 million during the quarter.

At the same time, for all of last year the company says total revenue was up 4% to $13.2 billion—in part from CBS-TV holding the rights to last year’s Super Bowl telecast. “[2016] was a phenomenal year for the CBS Corporation,” Moonves said in a statement, adding, “I couldn’t be more excited about our growth prospects in the years ahead.”


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