Media General, Inc. (NYSE: MEG), a local broadcast television and digital media company, today reported first-quarter 2014 results.
Media General’s president and chief executive officer George L. Mahoney said, “Today we report the first full quarter for the combined Media General and Young Broadcasting, which merged on November 12, 2013. It was an outstanding quarter.”
Comparing first-quarter 2014 results to the first quarter of 2013 as adjusted for the combined company, Mr. Mahoney said, “Our net operating revenue increased 16% from last year and reflects growth in all of our revenue categories. Core local and national gross time sales increased 4.6%. Automotive and telecommunications advertising increased 20% and 50%, respectively, compared to last year. Our stations generated significant revenues during the Sochi Winter Olympics and the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. Political revenues of $4.4 million were more than five times last year’s level, as we benefited especially from the race in Florida’s 13
congressional district, near Tampa. Also, retransmission consent revenues grew nearly 50%, and digital media revenues rose 33%,” said Mr. Mahoney. “Broadcast Cash Flow increased 38%, primarily as a result of our strong revenue growth, and operating income increased 87%, excluding merger-related expenses in the current quarter. Adjusted EBITDA nearly doubled to $39.3 million compared with $23.2 million last year,” he said.
“The new credit facilities that became effective on our merger with Young Broadcasting have enabled us to lower annualized combined cash interest costs from $75 million to $39 million. Interest expense in the first quarter was just under $10 million, compared with a combined $21.4 million last year. This lower interest expense, combined with revenue growth in the first quarter, enabled us to generate strong free cash flow and repay $36 million of debt. Our net leverage at the end of the first quarter was 4.23x,” said Mr. Mahoney.