E.W. Scripps Company under no pressure to make acquisitions


Debt free and sitting on a pile of cash from the sale of United Media Licensing for $175 million, the E.W. Scripps Company isn’t rushing out to spend that cash hoard.

After closing the all-cash sale of United Media Licensing to Iconix Brand Group on June 3rd, Scripps made a voluntary contribution to its defined benefit pension plan of $65 million, eliminating any near-term financial overhang on that front. Even after that, Scripps was sitting on $140 million of cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments at the end of Q2. It’s also expecting a $57 million tax refund from the IRS for 2009, but is planning to make an estimated tax payment of $45 million for 2010 in the second half of this year.

With more than $2.50 per share in cash on hand,  CEO Rich Boehme isn’t being rushed to use the money. “This all came together rapidly and recently, so we’re looking at a number of options. But I assure you that we’re patient, discerning and determined to deliver real value for our owners,” he said in his quarterly conference call. “In other words, the cash is not burning a hole in our pocket. It’s not a war chest in search of a quick acquisition. Regardless of what we do in the short term to reflect a proper balance of cash, debt and investment, over the long term we intend to stay the course, seeking to build value by serving physical communities and communities of interest with high quality news and information content and attractive marketplaces for advertisers who want to reach them,” Boehme said.