To grasp the quality of CBS's
In other words, we're left to draw our own conclusions. So let's apply a Foolish lens and get started.
For the quarter that ended in June, CBS reported net earnings of $404 million, or $0.55 per share, compared with $781.7 million, or $1.02 per share, year over year. But last year's comparable quarter included income from discontinued operations of $291.9 million, which involved the sale of the company's Paramount Parks, along with a tax benefit. Adjusting for those items, earnings from continuing operations came in at $0.54 a share, versus $0.47 last year.
Looking at the individual segments shows that revenue from television fell 4% for the quarter but the operating income increased 3%. The radio segment's revenue was 11% lower, while its operating income declined 18%. CBS Outdoor revenue and income displayed better, with 4% and 7% growth, respectively, while the Simon & Schuster publishing arm increased its revenue 14%.
Comparisons for CBS are somewhat difficult, in that all of the big media companies are built from a mix of varying component parts. This past Wednesday, Time Warner
If you ask CBS's Sumner Redstone, the octogenarian executive chairman and apparent cheerleader extraordinaire, things were good: "CBS Corporation has delivered yet again. With smart, strategic acquisitions and selective investment, Leslie [Moonves, the CEO] and his team are positioning the company for the future, while doing a terrific job managing CBS's world-class assets."
In mentioning acquisitions, Redstone is referring to a recent push to strengthen CBS's online presence. One of its purchases, back in May, was of Last.fm, an U.K.-based radio and music community website. Such acquisitions are probably a sensible way to expand the company's horizons and move it away from dependence on traditional, "old media" strategies and advertising.
Where, then, should we come down on CBS? Despite Redstone's enthusiasm and a portion of the analyst contingent, I'm inclined to simply watch the company for now. Given its mixed segment results and acquisitive appetite, I'm waiting for the rebound first.
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