Contrary to market rumors, LIN Television CEO Vince Sadusky says the company is continuing its review of strategic options, including a possible sale of the entire company. He notes, though, that the process has been impacted by the recent weakness of the credit markets. Nexstar recently pulled itself off the auction block because of the credit tightening and LIN's stock price had fallen on speculation that it would do the same.
There was no mention of the strategic review in management's discussion of Q2 results, but Bear Stearns analyst Victor Miller was first in line for the Q&A session and made it topic number one. Here's the response from Sadusky: "We continue to explore our strategic alternatives, including the possible sale of the company.
However, as most folks on this call are aware, the debt markets have experienced significant weakness as of late and this has certainly delayed the timing of our process. So we don't expect to make any further public comments with respect to the review of strategic alternatives that we announced unless we get to the point where we've either result in a transaction or we can affirm that we've stopped the process."
LIN reported that Q2 revenues were up 1% to 103.3 million. Sadusky said LIN was able to partially able to offset declines in national spot and the lack of political advertising with increases in other sectors, so the company exceeded its guidance for the quarter. On a pro forma basis, adjusted for the acquisition of Fox affiliate KASA in Albuquerque, revenues were down 3% in Q2. Pro forma operating income was down 5%.
Looking ahead, CFO Bart Catalane said Q3 revenues are expected to be down 8-10%. For all of 2007, local is tracking to be up 1-3%, while national, excluding political, is expected to be down 7-9%.