Nexstar Broadcasting Group said its board approved a 26.3% increase in the quarterly cash dividend to 24 cents/share of Class A common stock, beginning with the dividend declared for the first quarter of the year.
The dividend is payable Feb. 26 to shareholders on record as of Feb. 12.
Nexstar Chair/President/CEO Perry Sook said the company’s third consecutive annual cash dividend increase reflects the board’s confidence “in Nexstar’s free cash flow growth and our commitment to create value for shareholders through return of capital initiatives.”
In 2015, Nexstar authorized a repurchase of up to $100 million of the company’s shares. That’s when the broadcaster also repurchased about one million shares at an average purchase price of about $48.10 per share. That meant its total return of capital to shareholders in 2015 was about $72 million, or some $2.25 per share.
“We believe our return of capital highlights our confidence in the company’s long-term prospects based on visible organic and M&A-related growth opportunities,” said Sook. “At the same time, our growing free cash flow which will amount to approximately $482 million, or average pro-forma free cash flow of approximately $7.85 per share per year, in the 2015/2016 cycle affords us the financial flexibility to continue pursuing additional station and digital media accretive transactions, while simultaneously reducing leverage and returning capital to shareholders.”