Milwaukee-based Journal Media Group, the new company created by the April 1 merger of the publishing arms of Journal Communications Inc. and The E.W. Scripps Co., has reported the results of its first quarter.
The GAAP financials were prepared on a “carve-out” basis derived from Scripps’ financial statements, and do not include any cost savings or synergies expected from the combination and spin-off. The company also provided non-GAAP information adjusted for effects of the merger, and operations as a standalone entity.
On a GAAP basis, Scripps Newspapers reported a first quarter net loss of $3.5 million, compared with a net loss of $3.9 million in the first quarter of 2014. Its operating loss was $3.7 million, compared with $3.6 million in the same period a year ago.
And GAAP revenue was $91.5 million, down from $98.5 million in the first quarter of 2014. The company attributed the decrease to advertising revenue declines. However, expenses were down 6.7 percent as a result of lower employee costs and lower newsprint consumption.
Adjusted merged company EBITDA was $13.7 million, up from $13 million in the first quarter of 2014. Unadjusted merged company EBITDA was $2.9 million, compared with $2.5 million in the first quarter of 2014. Merged company revenue totaled $124.2 million, down from $134.1 million in the same period a year ago, driven by a 9.3 percent decline in advertising as retailers hesitated to spend on ads following a soft holiday sesason.
“Eight months from the day we announced the proposed transaction between The E.W. Scripps Co. and Journal Communications to spin off and merge their respective newspaper publishing operations, we commenced publishing our daily newspapers in 14 markets under the Journal Media Group umbrella,” said Tim Stautberg, president and chief executive officer of Journal Media Group. “This is an exciting time for our company as we shift our focus from planning for the integration of these two newspaper groups to the execution of our plans and the reimagining of the relationship our local brands have with readers and advertisers in the communities we serve.”