The E.W. Scripps Company has just signed off on a plan to slash its pension plan obligations by millions of dollars. To accomplish this, it purchased a group annuity contract with MassMutual.
By doing so, Scripps will transfer approximately $50 million of the company’s pension plan obligations, shifting responsibility for the pension benefits to MassMutual for approximately 2,000 Scripps retirees and beneficiaries.
MassMutual will begin making benefit payments to the affected plan participants on Jan. 1, 2019.
There will be no change to pension plan benefits for plan participants.
The purchase of the contract will be funded by assets of the pension plans, and no additional contributions will be required to facilitate the transaction.
Scripps CFO Lisa Knutson said the agreement is another move in the company’s effort to de-risk its pension plan, and the transaction is expected to close on Thursday (11/8).
Scripps expects to recognize a one-time non-cash pension settlement charge of between $10 million and $12 million in the fourth quarter. Impacted retirees and beneficiaries received preliminary notification in August 2018 and will be sent additional information later this month.