ProJo parent company reports $655K loss for Q1

NEW MEDIA INVESTMENT GROUP, parent company of the Providence Journal, among other local publications, reported a 2018 first-quarter net loss of $655,000. / PBN FILE PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD
NEW MEDIA INVESTMENT GROUP, parent company of the Providence Journal, among other local publications, reported a 2018 first-quarter net loss of $655,000. / PBN FILE PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD

PROVIDENCE – New Media Investment Group Inc., parent company of the Providence Journal, The Newport Daily News, The Standard-Times, The Herald News, The Independent and Mercury, including other local publications, reported a net loss of $655,000 for the first quarter, compared with a $3.7 million loss in the first quarter 2017, according to a company filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday.

Diluted loss per share was 1 cent for the quarter, compared with 7 cents one year prior.

First-quarter revenue for the company was $340.7 million, a 10.8 percent increase year over year from $307.5 million in 2017.

Advertising revenue totaled $163.3 million for the quarter, an increase of $7.6 million year over year. Digital ad revenue increased 23.3 percent in that time to $38.6 million. The company said its digital marketing and cloud services company UpCurve was responsible for $19.4 million in revenue in the first quarter.

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Circulation accounted for $130 million in the quarter, a $19.2 million increase year over year.

Michael E. Reed, New Media president and CEO, said in a statement: “2018 is off to a great start from an acquisition standpoint. … We have closed $112.5 million in newspaper acquisitions this year to date. All of these deals fit within our acquisition criteria, and valuation expectations. … We also expect to close another [$20 million to $25 million] in acquisitions before the end of the second quarter. … The pipeline for future deals remains strong.”

The company reported it closed five deals in the quarter and announced another acquisition and one sale:

  • Closed the acquisition of the Eugene, Ore., Register-Guard for $14.3 million on Feb. 28.
  • Closed the acquisition of substantially all assets of Holden, Mass., Landmark Corp. for $1.2 million on Feb. 28.
  • Closed the acquisition of the Gardner, Mass., News for $300,000 effective March 31.
  • Closed the acquisition of the Austin, Texas, American-Statesman for $47.5 million on April 2.
  • Closed the acquisition of the Palm Beach, Fla., Palm Beach Post and Palm Beach Daily News for $49.3 million on May 1.
  • Announced the acquisition of the Akron, Ohio, Beacon Journal for $16 million and the sale of GateHouse Media Alaska Holdings to Black Press Ltd. – both deals are expected to close in the second quarter.

“When we look at our newly acquired businesses, combined with the strong and improving financial performance we are seeing, it gives us great optimism with regard to our opportunity to deliver strong returns for our shareholders,” said Reed.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor.

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