LIN Television’s stock fell yesterday, although Q3 revenues were in line with expectations and EPS was a penny better than the analysts’ consensus of two cents. Excluding discontinued operations (the sale of its Puerto Rico stations and stake in Banks Broadcasting) net revenues were down 8% to 93.7 million. Excluding political, local ad sales were up 4% and national decreased 1%. Operating income fell 20% to 18.3%.
LIN put itself up for sale earlier this year, but that process slowed down after the credit crunch hit. One analyst yesterday pressed CEO Vince Sadusky on whether private market TV prices have gone down because of the credit markets. Sadusky said the credit conditions had delayed LIN’s sale process, but he insisted that there hadn’t yet been any significant station sales to show any impact on prices. He also conceded that there had been some disruption of employee morale in Q3 because of the sale process, but that it is "business as usual" at this point.
With the election and Olympics ahead in 2008, Sadusky is looking for "solid growth," but isn’t yet offering any specific guidance. Q4 2007, without last year’s political boost, is expected to see revenues down 15-17%.