Univision Swings to Third-Quarter Loss Amid $199.5M Radio Write-Down

Randy Falco Getty H 2016
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The Spanish-language media giant, which has been planning an IPO, is led by CEO Randy Falco.

Univision Communications on Thursday said it swung to a third-quarter loss, including a charge related to its radio business.

The Spanish-language media giant, which has been planning an IPO, posted a loss of $30.5 million for the latest quarter, compared with a year-ago profit of $109.8 million.

That included a non-cash impairment charge of $199.5 million "primarily related to the write-down of radio broadcast licenses," compared to a year-ago charge of $19.5 million. Direct operating expenses and selling, general and administrative expenses declined, as did restructuring, severance and related charges.

Third-quarter operating profit fell from $296.1 million to $61.0 million. And operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA), another profitability metric, fell 17.3 percent to $317.9 million, or 13.8 percent to $284.5 million on a comparable basis.

Quarterly revenue fell 8.3 percent, or 1.7 percent on a comparable basis, to $734.8 million, or $698.5 million on a comparable basis. Advertising revenue dropped 7.7 percent to $477.8 million from the year-ago period, which had benefited from the big Gold Cup soccer tournament. And content licensing revenue of $5.8 million was down sharply from $35.6 million, "primarily due to the final satisfaction of a licensing agreement in 2015."

The firm's media networks unit posted an adjusted OIBDA drop of 17.2 percent, while adjusted radio OIBDA was down 6.9 percent.

Univision operates such assets as broadcast networks Univision Network and UniMas, formerly Telefutura, as well as cable channel Galavision and sports network Univision Deportes.

NBCUniversal-owned Telemundo, the longstanding bridesmaid of the Spanish-language channels, this year reached some landmark summer demo victories courtesy of a savvy soap strategy and snapped Univision's 32-year streak with a historic winning stretch.

Univision "continued to make significant investments in content and distribution in the quarter to engage a younger, more diverse audience," said Falco. "Our strategic investments over the last few years have more than doubled our digital monthly uniques among U.S. Hispanics. The diversification of our content offerings across our digital platforms, including digital acquisitions, and growth in our TV and radio platforms has led to a 37 percent year-over-year increase in our average monthly unduplicated media consumers to an estimated nearly 89 million in the first nine months of this year."

He added: "Univision remains the heartbeat of Hispanic America, now serving a rapidly evolving audience with a variety of programming, in multiple languages and across various distribution platforms."