Sinclair Scores Strong Revenues From Political Ads, Distribution Fees

Sinclair Broadcast Group posted strong double-digit percentage revenue gains for the second quarter -- partly resulting from healthy increases in distribution revenues and political advertising.

Overall revenues grew 12% to $730 million, higher than analysts' results. Sinclair’s mid-morning Wednesday stock price was up 5% to $27.30.

Net income was down $28 million versus $44.6 million in the prior-year period -- affected by $39 million in costs related to the proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media.

Concerning Tribune Media, Sinclair said in its earnings release: “We are working with them to analyze approaches to the regulatory process that are in the best interest of our companies, employees and shareholders.”

After statements in July from the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, both Sinclair and Tribune Media withdrew some planned divestitures of TV stations. On July 19, the FCC referred the potential deal to an administrative law judge.



Tribune Media stock was virtually flat on mid-day Wednesday trading -- up 0.08% to $33.34.

Media revenues increased 9.2% to $695.9 million during the period, with distribution revenues a big part of the improvement -- 14% higher to $319 million versus $279 million. Political advertising revenue grew $28 million against $5 million. Digital ad revenues rose 29% over the same period a year ago.

Sinclair expects some of the same overall revenue gains in the third quarter, rising anywhere between 12.8% and 14.7% to secure $710 million and $722 million, respectively.

For the next reporting period, distribution revenue is expected to rise 17% to $333 million versus $285 million in the third quarter of 2017.

Political ad revenues are expected to be $45 million to $50 million -- up from Sinclair's previous estimate of $38 million. The company totaled $7 million in political advertising in the third quarter 2017.

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