In a press release posted to the company website this morning, The E.W. Scripps Co. announced it is “creating a stronger, more streamlined and higher-performing company through comprehensive restructuring and cost reductions expected to yield more than $30 million in annual cost savings.”
It then revealed that it plans to sell its 34 radio stations across the U.S. and has retained Tucson, Ariz.-based Kalil & Co. to handle the process.
In prepared comments, Scripps President/CEO Adam Symson did not elaborate further on the decision to sell the stations. However, he did paint a picture of how he envisions Scripps moving forward.
“Today, Scripps is a dynamic leader in the media industry through its strong local TV station portfolio, its growing multicast network, its national news network and its podcasting business. The enterprise-wide restructuring positions us well for continued growth while maintaining high-quality journalism as our central focus.”
Thus, TV and news are the drivers, whereas radio was a laggard for a company with a journalism-focused history.
Scripps began its restructuring work in Q3 2017 with a $2.4 million restructuring charge. The company will take a restructuring charge of $2 million in Q4, and estimates a $4 million charge in Q1 2018; it expects to take smaller quarterly charges into 2019.
Scripps adds that the annual cost savings are driven by reductions in head count and operating expenses over the next 12-18 months. These include centralization of services and technology; sharing of resources; elimination of redundant positions and services; and other expense reductions.
Further, Scripps says another component of the company’s performance-improvement plan “is its high priority on configuring a more durable TV station portfolio during this period of changing local market regulations.”
Symson continues, “This plan is consistent with our goal to create both short-term and long-term value by improving margins and cash flow in our local media business and supporting the growth of our national businesses. Our restructuring analysis also led us to determine the time is right to find a new owner for our radio group that can provide the focus and resources the stations and their creative, devoted employees deserve.”
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