Tribune To Explore Alternatives, Beats Profit And Sales Expectations

By Tomi KilgoreMarketWatch Pulse

Tribune Media Co. announced Monday that it is exploring strategic alternatives to boost shareholder value, which could include the sale of businesses, partnerships and capital return initiatives. The TV broadcasting company set a new $400 million stock repurchase program, and remains committed to monetizing its real estate assets. "We believe that the value of the portfolio of businesses of Tribune Media is not fully reflected in the stock price and intend to explore ways to unlock value by reviewing strategic alternatives," said Chairman Bruce Karsch. Separately, the company reported a fourth-quarter loss of $380.9 million, or $4.07 a share, compared with a profit of $314.7 million, or $3.14 a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, such as charges for the impairment of goodwill, adjusted earnings per share came to 63 cents, beating the FactSet consensus of 55 cents. Revenue fell 1% to $547.6 million, but beat expectations of $544 million, as an 18% increase in digital and data revenue helped offset a 3.4% decline in TV and entertainment revenue. For 2016, the company expects revenue of $2.25 billion to $2.28 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $2.23 billion. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, had dropped 12% over the past three months while the S&P 500 had lost 6.8%.

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