Emmis reports larger quarterly loss, higher revenue

Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corp. on Wednesday reported higher revenue but a larger loss in its latest fiscal quarter.

For the quarter ended May 31, Emmis suffered a loss of $4.5 million, or 12 cents a share, compared with a loss of $3.9 million, or 10 cents a share, during the same period last year.

Revenue from the company’s radio operations grew 2.6 percent, to $45.3 million, helping overall revenue rise 1.6 percent from the same quarter in 2010, to $61.1 million.

An Emmis spokesperson attributed the bigger loss to higher interest on its debt and increased one-time corporate expenses. The company is trying to shed some of its debt and rework its credit agreements.

Emmis last month announced it reached an agreement to sell three big-market radio stations to a partnership involving a private equity firm and a prominent media executive.

Emmis said it will receive between $110 million and $130 million in upfront cash for Chicago stations WLUP-FM 97.9 and WKQX-FM 101.1, and New York station WRXP-FM 101.9.

The buyer is GTCR Merlin Holdings LLC, a partnership between Chicago-based equity firm GTCR LLC and Randy Michaels, the former CEO of media giants the Tribune Co. and Clear Channel Communications Inc.

The sale of the three stations will allow Emmis to chop more than $100 million off its $331 million in long-term debt—clearing the way for it to arrange a refinancing under more favorable terms.

“We’re encouraged by what we see,” Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan said during a Wednesday morning conference call. “This company now is poised to start being more aggressive because it’s now on the verge of fixing its capital structure.”

Emmis owns more than 20 radio stations in seven U.S. markets and publishes seven U.S. magazines, in addition to operating radio networks in Bulgaria and Slovakia. Company shares were unchanged in mid-morning trading, at $1.04 each.


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