“CBS is clearly knocking the cover off the ball.”
That’s how CBS Corp. Chairman/CEO Les Moonves describes his company’s impressive Q3 results.
Revenue and profit growth was seen across all of the CBS segments, and the highest quarterly diluted earnings per share in the company’s history were seen.
Thanks to 32% growth in retransmission fees and fees from CBS affiliates, to $753 million, total revenue grew by 4%, to $3.4 billion.
Net earnings grew from $426 million (88 cents per diluted share) to $478 million ($1.07).
To little surprise, CBS beat the Street. The average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 98 cents per share and total revenue of $3.31 billion.
“As you’ve seen, CBS continues to perform at a very high level and the future keeps looking better and better,” Moonves said as he opened the company’s conference call with investors after market close on Thursday. “We are well on our way to another record-breaking year at CBS.”
He added that CBS is “still in the very early stages” of a reunification with Viacom, and “will only do a deal if it is in the best interest of CBS and its shareholders. Whatever the outcome, CBS has a bright future ahead.”
Down-ballot races are helping fuel political dollars, Moonves says.
Additionally, he confirms that the spin-off of CBS Radio is on track.
“Local Media,” which now includes mainly O&Os and the CBS television unit, grew from $376 million to $409 million.
Radio — for the first time a separate line-item on CBS’s balance sheet — was statistically flat, moving from $318 million to $319 million. The growth reflects higher national advertising sales, which were offset by lower local advertising sales, the company said.
Driving total revenue for CBS is advertising, which inched downward from $1.48 billion to $1.47 billion.
Content licensing and distribution moved ahead, from $1 billion to $1.11 billion.
OPERATING INCOME UP ACROSS THE BOARD
With total operating income up from $753 million to $798 million, every segment enjoyed gains.
Radio saw net income grow from $73 million to $77 million, reflecting lower expenses resulting from restructuring activities put in place during 2015. Local media moved ahead from $101 million to $122 million.
An IPO is expected for CBS Radio in Q1 2017. However, if market conditions allow it, the IPO could come during Q4, the company said during its conference call.
Unbeknownst to some, CBS Corp. is the owner of publishing house Simon & Schuster, and the release of the Bruce Springsteen autobiography “Born To Run” helped its Publishing division see revenue grow from $203 million to $226 million.
“It’s a good time to be an investor in CBS,” Moonves said, concluding his conference call prepared remarks.