Tribune Company reported first quarter gains in its broadcasting operations offset declines in publishing as revenues climbed 21% on the $2.5B acquisition of Local TV, but net income fell 29.6% to $41.1M.
Tribune is planning a midyear spinoff of its print operations – including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times -- to separate the business from its broadcast and real estate holdings.
Overall revenues hit $852.2M, including $144.8M from Local TV, which added 19 TV stations to the media giant when the deal closed in late December. Stronger ad revenues and retransmission fees were the root of gains in that segment, which chalked up a 67% increase to $398.4M in Q1.
Publishing revenues fell 2.6% to $453.8M mostly on declines in advertising, commercial print and delivery services, despite gains from its $170 acquisition of Sony's entertainment data property Gracenote in February.
CEO Peter Liguori said the company is "encouraged" by the prospects for political advertising in the second half of 2014 as Congressional mid-term elections are expected to spark a spending frenzy. "Additionally, our newspapers continued to deliver very good results in a challenging environment, and we are confident in the prospects for that business as we move closer to spinning it off from Tribune Company," he said.
The company couldn't find a buyer last year for its newspaper group.