Political, new stations fuel explosive growth at LIN Media


LIN Media
The combination of a hot political season and a raft of new television stations acquired from New Vision Television pushed LIN Media results into the stratosphere during the last quarter of 2012. It was a red-letter year for the company.

Net revenues were up 76% from $111.5M to $196.2M, with about $41M of the increase attributable to the new stations, meaning that the company still posted a monster 39% gain without adding in the new acquisitions.

LIN President and Chief Executive Officer Vincent L. Sadusky said, “2012 was a year of record-setting results at LIN Media. We closed on the largest acquisition in our company’s history, achieved historic political and digital advertising revenues and benefited from a rebound in the automotive industry. As a result, we delivered record revenue, EBITDA and EBITDA margin in both the fourth quarter and full year. Most recently, we completed the first of two transactions to remove the NBC joint venture overhangs, which is a significant positive development for our company. Looking ahead, we are cautious about the state of the economy and excited about the evolution of our company, continued growth of our digital business and the contributions of our recent acquisitions.”

The acquisition Sadusky referred to was the $342.4M deal with New Vision that brought in these properties:
* WIAT-TV Birmingham AL
* KIMT-TV Mason City IA
* KOIN-TV Portland OR
* KHON-TV Honolulu HI; KHAW-TV Hilo HI; KAII-TV Wailuku HI
* KSNW-TV Wichita KS; KSNC-TV Great Bend KS; KSNG-TV Garden City KS
* KSNT-TV Topeka KS; KTMJ-CA Topeka KS; KETM-LP Emporia KS; KMJT-LP Ogden KS; plus SSA with Vaughan Media’s KTKA-TV Topeka KS
* WJCL-TV Savannah GA; plus SSA with Vaughan Media’s WTGS-TV Savannah GA
* WKBN-TV/ WYFX-LD Youngstown OH ; plus SSA with Vaughan Media’s WYTV Youngstown OH

LIN highlighted the following Q4 results:

* Net political revenues were $45.5 million, compared to $23.8 million and $20 million during the fourth quarter of 2010 (the most recent political year) and 2008 (the most recent presidential political year), respectively.

* Excluding net political revenues, net revenues increased 39% to $150.7 million, compared to $108.5 million for the same quarter in 2011.

* Local revenues, which include net local advertising revenues, retransmission consent fees and television station web site revenues, increased 45% to $101.4 million, compared to $69.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

* Net national revenues increased 25% to $32.7 million, compared to $26.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

* Interactive revenues, which include revenues from LIN Digital (formerly RMM) and Nami Media(1), increased 52% to $12.8 million, compared to $8.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

 * Operating income increased 139% to $71.2 million, compared to operating income of $29.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

* Net loss per share was ($1.09), which includes special items of ($1.66) per share, compared to net income per diluted share of $0.75 in the fourth quarter of 2011.