Meredith Reports Fiscal 2014 Second Quarter And First Half Results
Local Media Group Delivers Record Financial Performance for a Non-Political Fiscal Second Quarter
Company Expands Television Portfolio Through Agreements to Add Stations in Phoenix and St. Louis
Jan 29, 2014
DES MOINES, Iowa, Jan. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Meredith Corporation (NYSE:MDP; www.meredith.com) today reported fiscal 2014 second quarter earnings per share of $0.67, which includes $1.6 million, or $0.02 per share, of transaction expenses related to previously announced agreements to purchase broadcast assets. Prior-year second quarter earnings per share were $0.79, or $0.89 excluding special items (See Table 1). Meredith recorded $25 million, or $0.34 per share, less of political advertising revenues in the second quarter of fiscal 2014 than in the prior-year period, as expected in an off-election year. Total revenues were $354 million, compared to $361 million.
"We continued our strong performance into the second quarter of fiscal 2014," said Meredith Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stephen M. Lacy. "Our National Media Group delivered revenue and profit growth in the quarter, while our Local Media Group achieved record revenue and profit performance for a non-political fiscal second quarter and first half.
"Importantly, we continue to execute strategic initiatives to deliver increased cash flow and returns to our shareholders over time, most recently through the announced acquisition of great television assets in attractive markets," Lacy continued.
On December 23, 2013, Meredith announced agreements to purchase the broadcast assets of KTVK and KASW in Phoenix, and KMOV in St. Louis. Meredith anticipates the transactions will close in the second half of fiscal 2014. In the first full year post closing, these stations are expected to generate combined revenues of $105 to $115 million, and be accretive to run-rate earnings per share by $0.16 to $0.18.
Lacy noted the following fiscal 2014 second quarter financial highlights compared to the prior-year period:
Fiscal 2014 first half earnings per share were $1.20, which included the $0.02 per share of transaction expenses. In comparison, prior-year earnings per share were $1.34, or $1.44 excluding special items. Meredith recorded $37 million, or $0.50 per share, less of political advertising revenues in the first half of fiscal 2014 than in the prior-year period, as expected in an off-election year. Total revenues were $711 million, compared to $715 million.
OPERATING GROUP DETAIL
NATIONAL MEDIA GROUP
Meredith's National Media Group includes leading national consumer media brands delivered over multiple platforms, offering clients access to 100 million unduplicated American women every month – a reach unmatched in the industry. It also features robust brand licensing activities and innovative business-to-business marketing services.
Fiscal 2014 second quarter National Media Group operating profit grew 27 percent to $28 million, compared to the prior-year period. Excluding special items in the prior-year period, operating profit rose 1 percent. Revenues increased slightly to $250 million.
Fiscal 2014 first half National Media Group operating profit grew 9 percent to $56 million, compared to the prior-year period. Excluding special items in the prior-year period, operating profit declined 2 percent. Revenues increased slightly to $517 million.
Looking more closely at advertising performance in first half fiscal 2014 compared to the prior-year period:
Circulation revenues grew slightly to $143 million in the first half of fiscal 2014, due primarily to strong performance from Meredith's parenthood brands. Meredith launched Allrecipes magazine, the media industry's first major print extension of a digital brand, during the first half of fiscal 2014. Advertising and consumer interest has been enthusiastic and Media Industry Newsletter named it Magazine Launch of the Year.
Digital traffic averaged a record 58 million unique visitors in the first half of fiscal 2014, led by growth from Allrecipes.com, as well as the Better Homes and Gardens and Parents networks. In addition, Meredith generated 2.5 million digital orders for print magazine subscriptions during the first half of fiscal 2014, an increase of 15 percent over the prior year.
Other revenues rose 3 percent to $125 million in the first half of fiscal 2014, compared to the prior-year period, driven by growth in brand licensing revenues. Operating profit grew for both brand licensing and Meredith Xcelerated Marketing in the first half of fiscal 2014, compared to the prior-year period.
"We continue to enhance the vibrancy of our brands across platforms for consumers and advertisers alike," said National Media Group President Tom Harty. "Our launch of Allrecipes magazine is a great example, as is the strong growth delivered by our brand licensing activities. Also, we're pleased that Meredith Xcelerated Marketing grew revenues, and increased operating profit more than 35 percent in the second quarter."
LOCAL MEDIA GROUP
Meredith's Local Media Group consists of leading television stations, many in fast-growing markets, and a video content creation unit that produces national broadcast and custom programming.
Fiscal 2014 second quarter Local Media Group operating profit was $35 million, compared to $45 million in the prior-year period. Fiscal 2014 second quarter operating profit included $1.6 million of transaction expenses. EBITDA margin was 40 percent. Revenues were $104 million, compared to $111 million in the prior-year period. Meredith recorded $25 million less of political advertising revenues in the second quarter of fiscal 2014 than in the prior-year period, as expected in an off-election year.
Fiscal 2014 first half Local Media Group operating profit was $61 million, compared to $72 million in the prior-year period. Fiscal 2014 first half operating profit included the above-mentioned $1.6 million of transaction expenses. EBITDA margin was 38 percent. Revenues were $194 million, compared to $198 million in the prior-year period, as growth in retransmission revenues and non-political advertising revenues nearly offset the expected cyclical decline in political advertising revenues. Meredith recorded $37 million less of political advertising revenues in the first half of fiscal 2014 than in the prior-year period.
Looking more closely at performance in the first half of fiscal 2014, compared to the prior-year period:
Meredith's connection with viewers also strengthened in the first half of fiscal 2014. Meredith's stations in Hartford, Las Vegas and Portland led their markets in news in the November ratings period, and Hartford, Kansas City and Saginaw were also No. 1 in sign-on to sign-off.
The Better Show, the daily syndicated program produced by Meredith Video Studios, began its seventh season in syndication and is currently available in 160 markets across the United States. In addition, The Better Show began airing to 90 million homes on the Hallmark Channel during the first half of fiscal 2014.
"We were pleased to generate record non-political performance in the first half of fiscal 2014," said Local Media Group President Paul Karpowicz. "We continue to consistently deliver great programming for our viewers and outstanding results at retail for our advertising clients."
On December 23, 2013, Meredith announced an expansion of its television portfolio by entering into definitive agreements to purchase the broadcast assets of television stations in Phoenix and in St. Louis. Included in the transactions are:
"These stations are terrific additions to our group," Karpowicz said. "The markets are growing and they are located in states with significant political advertising."
OTHER FINANCIAL INFORMATION
Consistent with Meredith's Total Shareholder Return strategy, Meredith repurchased more than 1.2 million shares of its stock in the first half of fiscal 2014. At December 31, 2013, $22 million remained under the current repurchase authorization. Key elements of Meredith's TSR strategy are (1) An annual dividend of $1.63 per share, which reflects a 60 percent increase in the annual dividend over the last two years; (2) A $100 million share repurchase program; and (3) Ongoing investments to scale the business and increase shareholder value.
Total debt was $340 million at December 31, 2013, and the weighted average interest rate was 2.9 percent. Meredith's debt-to-EBITDA ratio for the 12 months ended December 31, 2013, was 1.3 to 1.
All earnings per share figures in the text of this release are diluted. Both basic and diluted earnings per share can be found in the attached Condensed Consolidated Statements of Earnings. All fiscal 2014 second quarter and first half comparisons are against the prior-year periods.
Looking to the remainder of fiscal 2014, with limited visibility into customers' calendar 2014 advertising and marketing budgets, Meredith continues to expect fiscal 2014 full year earnings per share to range from $2.60 to $2.95, excluding operating results and transaction expenses related to the acquisitions of television stations in Phoenix and St. Louis.
Looking more closely at the third quarter of fiscal 2014 compared to the year-ago period, with significant month-to-month volatility and excluding operating results and transaction expenses related to the acquisitions of television stations in Phoenix and St. Louis:
CONFERENCE CALL WEBCAST
Meredith will host a conference call on January 29, 2014 at 11 a.m. EST to discuss fiscal 2014 second quarter and first half results. A live webcast will be accessible to the public on the Company's website, www.meredith.com, and a replay will be available for two weeks. A transcript will be available within 48 hours of the call at www.meredith.com.
RATIONALE FOR USE AND ACCESS TO NON-GAAP RESULTS
Management uses and presents GAAP and non-GAAP results to evaluate and communicate its performance. Non-GAAP measures should not be construed as alternatives to GAAP measures. EBITDA and EBITDA margin are common supplemental measures of performance used by investors and financial analysts. Management believes that EBITDA provides an additional analytical tool to clarify the Company's results from core operations and delineate underlying trends. Meredith does not use EBITDA as a measure of liquidity or funds available for management's discretionary use because they include certain contractual and non-discretionary expenditures.
Results excluding the special items recorded in the second quarter of fiscal 2013 are supplemental non-GAAP financial measures. While these adjusted results are not a substitute for reported results under GAAP, management believes this information is useful as an aid in better understanding Meredith's current performance, performance trends and financial condition. Reconciliations of non-GAAP to GAAP measures are attached to this press release and will be made available at www.meredith.com.
This release contains certain forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These statements are based on management's current knowledge and estimates of factors affecting the Company and its operations. Statements in this release that are forward-looking include, but are not limited to, the statements regarding advertising revenues, along with the Company's revenue and earnings per share outlook for the third quarter and full year fiscal 2014.
Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated. Factors that could adversely affect future results include, but are not limited to, downturns in national and/or local economies; a softening of the domestic advertising market; world, national or local events that could disrupt broadcast television; increased consolidation among major advertisers or other events depressing the level of advertising spending; the unexpected loss or insolvency of one or more major clients; the integration of acquired businesses; changes in consumer reading, purchasing and/or television viewing patterns; increases in paper, postage, printing, syndicated programming or other costs; changes in television network affiliation agreements; technological developments affecting products or methods of distribution; changes in government regulations affecting the Company's industries; increases in interest rates; and the consequences of acquisitions and/or dispositions. The Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
ABOUT MEREDITH CORPORATION
Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP; www.meredith.com) is the leading media and marketing company serving American women. Meredith reaches 100 million American women every month through multiple well-known national brands – including Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, Family Circle, Allrecipes, EveryDay with Rachael Ray and FamilyFun – and local television brands in fast-growing markets. Meredith is the industry leader in creating content in key consumer interest areas such as home, family, food, health and wellness and self-development. Meredith uses multiple distribution platforms – including print, television, digital, mobile, tablets, and video – to give consumers content they desire and to deliver the messages of its advertising and marketing partners.
Additionally, Meredith Xcelerated Marketing serves the nation's top brands and companies by delivering content-powered engagement for a hyper-connected world. Its deep expertise in digital, mobile, social, healthcare, analytics and international marketing enable it to provide cutting-edge cross-channel customer management for many of the world's most popular brands.
A hallmark of Meredith's business model and financial profile is its ability to consistently generate substantial free cash flow by leveraging the strength of its multi-platform portfolio. Meredith is committed to increasing Total Shareholder Return through dividend payments, share repurchases and strategic business investments. Meredith has paid a dividend for 66 straight years and increased its dividend for 20 consecutive years. Meredith currently pays an annual dividend of $1.63 per share.
SOURCE Meredith Corporation
For further information: Shareholder/Financial Analyst Contact, Mike Lovell, Director of Investor Relations, (515) 284-3622, Mike.Lovell@Meredith.com, or Media Contact: Art Slusark, Chief Communications Officer, (515) 284-3404, firstname.lastname@example.org