Tegna Quarterly Earnings Exceed Expectations After Gannett Spinoff

The company touts growth in retransmission, online and core advertising revenue.

Tegna, the TV and digital media business created as part of the split of USA Today parent Gannett into two companies earlier this year, on Tuesday reported slightly better-than-expected third-quarter earnings.

In its first financial report that excluded the results for the now-separate Gannett, the company posted earnings from continuing operations of $84.6 million, or 37 cents per share, up 27.6 percent compared with $68.2 million, or 29 cents, in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose 18.5 percent to $807.1 million driven by a 71.6-percent digital unit gain, partially offset by a 2.4-percent drop in the TV media business.

The growth in the digital segment was helped by the acquisition of Cars.com and organic growth. The company called media segment results "solid," but said they were "impacted by the absence of $40 million of political spending that benefited the third quarter in 2014."

Said CEO Gracia Martore: "We are pleased that Tegna has capped off its first quarter following the close of our separation on such a strong footing, with company-wide revenue up nearly 20 percent. Tegna Media revenue continued its strong trajectory despite the absence of approximately $40 million in political spending in the third quarter of 2014, which speaks to strong growth in retransmission revenue, online revenue and core advertising during the quarter."

She added: "We expect that the momentum we’ve seen this past quarter puts us in a very strong position as we continue to execute Tegna’s more focused strategy going forward. Beyond this, we expect to see even greater impact as the nation’s political races begin to heat up into 2016."

In the company split, the publishing business was spun off and kept the Gannett name, while the remaining assets formed what became known as Tegna.

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