media

LIN TV mulls layoffs amid sales slump

Providence broadcaster may seek negotiations with creditors

COURTESY WPRI-TV
LIN TV CORP., the Providence-based parent company of WPRI-TV CBS 12, above, WNAC-TV Fox 64, and 25 other television stations, said in a regulatory filing it expects to make further cost-cutting efforts.
Posted 5/11/09

PROVIDENCE – LIN TV Corp. is likely to undertake layoffs and other cost-cutting measures in the coming months to deal with a continued slump in advertising revenue, the company said in a regulatory filing late last week.

In its quarterly report with the S.E.C., Providence-based LIN TV (NYSE: TVL) said revenue fell faster than expected in the first quarter and is on track to do so again in the current quarter.

“As a result, we believe it is increasingly likely that we will need to enact a series of further cost reduction actions and other measures” to ensure the company does not breach its agreements with lenders, the filing said.

“Our further cost reduction actions may include, among other things, decreases in headcount, salaries and related benefits, reductions of business travel and advertising expenditures, and the sale of certain non-strategic assets,” the filing said.

LIN – which owns WPRI-TV CBS 12 and WNAC-TV Fox 64, along with 25 other television stations – already laid off 144 employees late last year.

Although LIN said it continues to believe it can meet the requirements of its borrowing agreements, “there is now a greater likelihood” that it may need to change the terms of its borrowing agreements. The company had $686.1 million in long-term debt as of March 31.

LIN TV posted a profit of $24.72 million, or 48 cents a share, in the quarter ended March 31, up from $1.46 million, or 3 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.

LIN also said its finances are being hurt by a joint venture with NBC Universal, Station Venture Holdings LLC. LIN owns 20.38 percent of Station Venture Holdings, which the company said lost $13.76 million in the first quarter of 2009, compared with a profit of $2.21 million in the same period last year.

Like many advertising outlets, LIN also said in the filing that it is owed money by Chrysler, which filed for bankruptcy protection on April 30. But LIN said it has adequate reserves to cover any losses due to Chrysler’s bankruptcy.

LIN TV Corp. (NYSE: TVL) owns or operates 27 television stations and Web sites in 17 midsize U.S. markets. Its stations include WPRI-TV CBS 12 and WNAC-TV Fox 64 in the Providence market; WWLP-TV NBC 22 in Springfield, Mass.; and WTNH-TV ABC 8 and WCTX-TV MyNetworkTV 59 in the Hartford-New Haven region. Additional information is available at LINTV.com.

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