While parent iHeartMedia (IHRT) - Get Report enters mediation with creditors, shares of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings (CCO) - Get Report rose Wednesday after the company reported improved profitability in the first quarter of 2016.
Clear Channel Outdoor's sales for the quarter declined 4% to $590.7 million, compared with a consensus expectation of $591.7 million, according to FactSet Research Systems. Excluding the effects of foreign exchange and asset sales, revenue would have increased 1.8%.
Despite the dip in sales, the company generated $140.1 million in first-quarter net income, compared with a loss of $33.5 million in 2015. Wedbush Securities analyst James Dix noted that $284.8 million in other operating income, "presumably relating to asset sales in the quarter," likely accounted for the swing in profit.
After surging earlier in the day, Clear Channel Outdoor shares were up 42 cents, or 8.1%, to $5.62 on Wednesday afternoon. The stock had been as high as $6.03, nearly a 16% gain.
Fellow outdoor advertising companies Lamar Advertising (LAMR) - Get Report and Outfront Media (OUT) - Get Report also seemed to benefit from the results. Shares of Lamar added $1.50, or 2.4%, to $63.60, while Outfront stock rose 63 cents, or 2.9%, to $22.51.
Clear Channel Outdoor said that pacings for the second quarter, which compares revenue booked by a specific date with the same date in the prior quarter, were up 4.4%.
"Our sense is that most of the strength is coming from execution and new management resulting in [Clear Channel Outdoor Americas] taking back some market share," Wells Fargo Securities analyst Marci Ryvicker wrote in a Wednesday note.
Clear Channel Outdoors Americas named Bain Capital operating partner Scott Wells as CEO last March. Bain, of course, backs iHeartMedia, which owns more than 90% of Clear Channel Outdoor's equity. Since hiring Wells, Clear Channel Outdoor has bolstered its tech acumen by hiring executives to oversee automated media buying, digital marketing and analytics.
Whether the pacings reflect better conditions across the industry should become more clear on Thursday, Ryvicker noted, after Lamar and Outfront report earnings.
Parent company IHeartMedia, meanwhile, had sales of $1.363 billion in the first quarter, topping FactSet's expectation of $1.359 billion.
IHeartMedia president, COO and CFO Richard Bressler pitched shareholders on the vitality of radio, citing data from Nielsen during the call.
TV, which once drew in 95% of U.S. adults over 18 every week, now reaches just 86% of adults and 75% of the prized millennial demographic. Radio, by comparison, reaches 93% of adults and 92% of millennials, he said.
"So radio has now surpassed TV to become the No. 1 reach medium," Bressler said. "Put another way, more adults and more millennials are reached by AM/FM radio than any other medium."
IHeartMedia's second-quarter pacings were up 1.7%. Ryvicker, though, cautioned that the figure represents "just a point in time and doesn't give us a totally good read for how the quarter will ultimately end up," in her note.
Revenue will need to increase substantially for iHeartMedia to grow into its balance sheet.
The radio group has $20 billion in debt on its balance sheet from a 2008 leveraged buyout led by Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners. IHeartMedia has clashed with bondholders, and even shareholders of Clear Channel Outdoor, as it maneuvers to push out maturities and otherwise manage its leverage.
In early May, iHeartMedia said it had entered mediation with bondholders that charged the company defaulted when it shifted 100 million Class B shares of Clear Channel Outdoor from Clear Channel Holdings to subsidiary Broader Media. Minority Clear Channel Outdoor shareholder Mario Gabelli has complained about a debt issuance that funded a dividend to iHeartMedia.
While iHeartMedia's leverage isn't going away anytime soon, there could be more clarity on the bondholder dispute when mediation ends on May 16.