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Emmis ends profitable year despite quarterly loss

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Emmis Communications Corp. posted a big loss in its latest quarter, but reported a profit for the entire fiscal year largely due to the repurchase of company preferred stock.

Executives of the Indianapolis-based media company addressed fiscal fourth quarter and annual results for the fiscal year ended Feb. 29 in a Thursday morning conference call.

Emmis lost $18.2 million in the fourth quarter, or 47 cents a share, compared with $17.3 million, or 46 cents a share, for the same period in 2011.

Quarterly revenue fell 11.5 percent, to $50.9 million. Overall radio revenue for the quarter fell 14.8 percent while publishing revenue dipped 3.3 percent.

For the year, Emmis reported a profit of $79.5 million, or 58 cents per share, compared with a loss of $25.3 million, or 67 cents per share, in fiscal 2011.

Profit was helped by Emmis' repurchase of $61.9 million in stock from preferred shareholders and a $26.9 million operating profit mostly due to the sale of its portion of Merlin Media LLC to a private equity firm for $120 million.

Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan was upbeat during the conference call about the company’s future.

“This company has really weathered what we think is the worst—we know is the worst—downturn in media,” he said. “I couldn’t be prouder of what our people have done to get us through this.”

In April, Emmis inked two deals involving a radio station in New York that will bring the company $92.5 million. The news sent Emmis stock soaring 21.5 percent, to $1.05 cents per share. It was the first time Emmis shares had traded above $1 since July.

Company shares were trading at $1.27 each late Thursday morning, down 5 cents from their opening price.

 
 

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