Back on Dec. 30, 2005, television broadcaster Gray Television
Triple Crown just released year-end results that require some further explanation. Back in April, the company opted to change its fiscal year-end to June 30, from its previous end of Dec. 31. The earnings release listed year-end results which were actually only six-month results from June until December of this year. It also listed total 2005 results but did not list full fiscal year details, as Triple Crown has only been an independent public company since Jan. 1, 2006 and also made a major acquisition. Fools can check out the just-filed 10-K for more insight into acquisition details and estimates of past financials as if Triple Crown was independent from Gray.
From the press release, total revenue for the six months ended June 20, 2006 was $54.4 million, with near 10% growth in each major segment. Net income was $4.4 million or $0.86 per share but included a gain of $5.7 million because of the disposal of a discontinued operation. As a result, and mostly because of costs associated with becoming a stand-alone company, on a continuing operations basis Triple Crown posted a loss of $1.6 million for the year, or negative $0.30 per share.
For Fools not familiar with Triple Crown Media, it's an entertainment company with three primary divisions: newspaper publishing, GrayLink Wireless, and a recently acquired Host Communications via a purchase of Bull Run corporation. GrayLink provides rural wireless services, consisting mostly of paging offerings through an alliance with Sprint Nextel
Triple Crown owns and operates six daily and one weekly newspapers; this accounted for 40.5% of the company's most recent annual sales, which consisted almost entirely of advertising. The recently acquired collegiate business accounted for 44.5% of this year's sales, while the association services contributed 8.6% of sales.
With Gray's market cap of $305 million, and Triple Crown's at $39 million, these aren't overly large companies when compared to peers such as CBS or Journal Communications
Triple Crown generates solid operating cash flow, but long-term debt is significant. At $119 million, it's almost four times the company's market capitalization. During the earnings conference call, management emphasized its focus on paying down debt going forward.
Management also focused its attention on describing its intention for the Host Collegiate business, including new contract signings with universities and sport associations. This segment could prove the least competitive and most lucrative area to expand into. However, a major CBS contract is set to expire in June 2007, so be sure to track those negotiations.
Additionally, exposure to industries other than publishing is good, as there are a number of fundamental issues to work out as the readership base migrates to Internet-based distribution. Triple Crown mentioned its newspapers have been growing faster than the industry average, but the space will continue to be challenging. Check out recent profit warnings at New York Times
Overall, if Triple Crown can successfully pay down debt, grow its collegiate business and, at a minimum, sustain the other divisions, investors could be duly rewarded.
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Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann has no financial interest in any company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.