Beasley Broadcast Group today announced operating results for the three-month and twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2018.
As previously reported, on May 1, 2017, the Company completed the sale of six stations in Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, and on December 19, 2017, Beasley completed an asset exchange transaction whereby the Company exchanged its Boston adult contemporary station WMJX-FM and $12.0 million for Boston’s sports station WBZ-FM. On September 27, 2018, Beasley completed the acquisition of WXTU-FM in Philadelphia from Entercom Communications Corp. for $38.0 million. Prior to the acquisition closing, on July 23, 2018, the Company began operating WXTU-FM under a local marketing agreement (“LMA”). During the term of the LMA, the Company included net revenues and station operating expenses, including the associated LMA fee from operating WXTU-FM, in its consolidated financial statements.
The results presented herein reflect the operations and results from WBZ-FM in the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2018 and WMJX-FM in the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2017, prior to its divestiture. The results also reflect a full quarter’s contribution from WXTU-FM in the three months ended December 31, 2018 and approximately five months of contribution from WXTU-FM in the twelve months ended December 31, 2018 and four months of contribution from the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations in the twelve month period ended December 31, 2017. The pro-forma revenue for the three months ended December 31, 2018 compared to the same period in 2017 presented herein reflects the exchange in Boston and the acquisition of WXTU-FM.
- Operating income, net income and net income per diluted share in the twelve months ended December 31, 2018 were impacted by the $1.7 million USTN bad debt expense.
The $17.0 million, or 29.1%, year-over-year increase in net revenue during the three months ended December 31, 2018, reflects year-over-year revenue increases at ten of the Company’s thirteen market clusters compared to the same period of 2017 and the inclusion of WBZ-FM Boston and WXTU-FM Philadelphia, partially offset by the disposition of WMJX-FM Boston.
Beasley reported operating income of $13.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to operating income of $23.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. The year-over-year decrease in operating income reflects a net benefit of $13.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 related to change in fair value of contingent consideration and gain on exchange in connection with the acquisition of Greater Media, Inc. and the related sale of Greater Media’s tower assets, which net benefit was partially offset by certain transaction and other operating expenses.
The decline in 2018 fourth quarter net income primarily reflects the lower operating income during the period and a $62.2 million year-over-year net increase in income tax expense as the Company recorded a $59.7 million deferred income tax benefit in the 2017 fourth quarter due to a reduction in the federal tax rate following the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and a revaluation of deferred tax assets and liabilities using the new rate. As a result, net income for the 2018 fourth quarter was $2.1 million, or $0.08 per diluted share.
“Throughout 2018, we continued to execute on our integration strategy focused on premium local programming to support our goals of ratings and market leadership at acquired stations, while remaining opportunistic in further building our scale and revenue diversification to drive growth and SOI margin expansion. Our strong free cash growth has enabled us to complete strategic investments in our broadcast, digital, technology and other platforms, reduce leverage and pay cash dividends to shareholders. During the year, we completed the strategically complementary and accretive acquisition of WXTU-FM which has significantly strengthened our competitive position and revenue share in the Philadelphia market. We also completed several smaller acquisitions including a Tampa-based event company and a nationally syndicated esports show and podcast in separate transactions that were funded with cash on hand.