That Sinking Feeling: Media Stocks Drown In Red Tide


It was a difficult Wednesday for most publicly traded media companies, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a new high of 22,016.24, thanks to a 52.32-point rise. But, the Nasdaq Composite index slipped 0.29 points, to 6,362.65, and the majority of media stocks were also down sharply.

Beasley Broadcast Group was off 3.6%, to $10.70, while Gray Television was down some 3%, to $14.45, ahead of its Aug. 8 Q2 earnings release.

Sinclair Broadcast Group shares were down 5.2%, to $34.90, as the company’s earnings fell nearly 10% but beat Wall Street estimates and declared an 18-cent quarterly cash dividend payable Sept. 15 to shareholders of record on Sept. 1.

Meanwhile, Pandora Media continued to struggle after a short-term rebound following the exit of founder and CEO Tim Westergren. With several financial houses lowering their price target for “P” shares on Tuesday, Pandora finished down 3.2%, to $8.38.

Also down on Wednesday were TEGNA (-4.3%, to $13.99), and Townsquare Media (-2.7%, to $10.70). Townsquare will report its Q2 earnings results on Wed., Aug. 9, prior to the Opening Bell on Wall Street.

Swimming against the red tide was iHeartMedia: The No. 1 owner of radio stations saw its shares jump 15.4%, to $1.50. This is fueled by a Dow Jones Newswires report that the company today (8/2) made a coupon payment on $1.7 billion in 14% unsecured notes due 2021.

Some investors were concerned that iHeart might hold back on the $120 million coupon payment on the 14% unsecured notes, as a move to pressure holders into agreeing to a new deal.

The company formerly known as Clear Channel has offered holders of some $18 billion in debt 49% of company equity. In exchange, iHeart would extend maturities by a couple of years and absorb a markdown on the debt. A debt restructuring agreement is needed by April 2018, Dow Jones notes, to avoid a bankruptcy filing.