Cumulus Profit Flat; Sets Tender

The company will buy back about 24% of its Class A shares.
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reported a 4% rise in first-quarter earnings Wednesday and said it would tender for up to 11.5 million of its own shares for potentially above-market prices.

The radio station operator earned $857,000, or 1 cent a share, in the quarter, compared with $823,000, or 1 cent a share, last year. Sales rose 4.4% to $75.3 million, from $72.1 million a year ago. On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were forecasting a loss of 10 cents a share on sales of $74.1 million in the latest period.

Cumulus reported "station operating income," or operating income before termination items, depreciation, amortization, certain fees and corporate and administrative expenses, and restructuring and impairment charges, of $27.7 million in the quarter, compared with $21.6 million a year ago. Adjusted EBITDA fell 1.9% to $17.5 million.

The company said it expects its pro forma station operating to rise by 2% in the second quarter, reflecting the removal of stations in Houston and Kansas City.

Separately, Cumulus said its board approved a plan under which it will tender for up to 11.5 million of its own Class A shares at a price in a range of $11 to $12.50 each. The stock closed at $11.56 Tuesday. The 11.5 million shares are about 24% of the total outstanding Class A shares.

In addition to the Dutch auction, Cumulus will also purchase an unspecified number of Class B shares from Bank of America and an affiliate.