Barrington puts analyst in the mood to upgrade


Television group Barrington Broadcasting has a 24-station television group (owned or operated) that is diverse both geographically and in terms of network affiliation. Moody’s Investor Service says that as long as it pursues certain financial strategies, it warrants an upgrade to its corporate family rating and its probability of default rating.

Both the CFR and PDR were sitting on a B3 rating, and both have been improved to B2.

Moody’s said that the company’s lack of scale was a problem, as was a moderately high leverage level. Also, it sees competition for advertising dollars due to increasing media fragmentation as yet another challenge.

However, it likes that the company has reduced funded debt balance from $227.9 million at December 2009 to $185.2 million as of June 2011, and expects management to continue to take the level down even further.

The 24 stations in the portfolio are concentrated in 15 markets, with six NBC affiliates, six ABC affiliates, four CBS affiliates, three Fox affiliates and five CW affiliates.