What happened

Investors weren't tuning in to TV station conglomerate Tegna's (TGNA 3.03%) stock this week despite a potentially lucrative buyout offer looming over the company. The culprit was dispiriting quarterly earnings, which contributed to the share price eroding by 22% over the course of the week, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

So what

Tegna published its fourth-quarter and full-year 2022 figures before market open on Monday, and they set the bearish tone for the stock in the subsequent days.

The company's total revenue for the quarter was $917 million. Although this was up by 18% year over year, it fell well short of the average analyst estimate of nearly $956 million. Non-GAAP (adjusted) net profit was $331 million ($0.98 per share). As with revenue, profitability was well higher -- the adjusted tally was $128 million in the year-ago period -- yet it didn't meet the collective prognosticator projection, which was $1.07 per share.

Tegna attributed its growth to what it characterized as "strong growth in political revenue and record subscription revenue despite [advertising and marketing services] revenue declines as a result of political displacement and macroeconomic headwinds."

Now what

Tegna did not proffer any guidance, which is understandable as it might soon recognize a long-standing ambition to sell itself. Just over one year ago, it announced that an affiliate of hedge fund Standard General agreed to acquire the company for $24 per share in cash.

However, in late February, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a hearing designation order regarding the sale. As a result, Tegna said without elaboration it is "currently evaluating its options," so it seems there might be a big question mark hanging over the deal.