Nexstar Media Group stock was up by 51 cents to $83.62 on Friday on word that the broadcast TV station owner, which seeks to merge with Tribune Broadcasting, has raised its quarterly dividend.
Nexstar’s Board of Directors on Friday approved a 20% increase in the quarterly cash dividend to $0.45 per share of its Class A common stock, beginning with the dividend declared for the first quarter of 2019.
The dividend is payable on Friday, February 22, to shareholders of record on Friday, February 8.
It is Nexstar’s sixth consecutive annual dividend increase, and it highlights the company’s “growing free cash flow profile and the Board’s commitment to returning capital to shareholders,” President/CEO Perry Sook said. “Nexstar ended 2018 with strong operating results marking our seventh consecutive year of record financial results and free cash flow. In addition, our active management of our capital structure and strong free cash flow allowed us to act on a range of opportunities to enhance shareholder value in 2018 through our return of capital and leverage reduction initiatives spread across share repurchases, dividend payments and debt reduction.”
What does Sook predict for investors in the 12 months ahead?
“Looking ahead, we remain extremely well positioned to post another year of record results in 2019 given key factors including new distribution agreements and the pending accretive acquisition of Tribune Media,” he says. “Upon completion of the Tribune Media transaction, Nexstar will be the largest local television group in the United States, with 2018/2019 average pro-forma annual revenue and free cash flow of approximately $4.6 billion and $900 million, respectively. The enhanced scale of the combined entity and free cash flow growth will enable Nexstar to better compete in today’s rapidly transforming industry landscape, while extending our long-term record of delivering greater levels of service to our local communities and increased returns for our shareholders.”
While Nexstar intends to pay regular quarterly cash dividends for the foreseeable future, all subsequent dividends will be reviewed quarterly and declared by the Board of Directors at its discretion.