Nexstar Media Group, Inc. (NXST) Q3 2020 Earnings Call Transcript @themotleyfool #stocks $NXST

Concurrent with the closing of the amendment, Nexstar also voluntarily prepaid $250 million of its existing term loan A with cash on hand while Mission borrowed $225 million from the aforementioned $250 million facility and repaid its term loan B3 in full. Mission also reallocated $3 million of available capacity under its existing revolving facility back to Nexstar. As such, on 09/30/2020, we had approximately $197.7 million available under the revolving credit facilities with $172.7 million available to Nexstar and $25 million available to Mission. On September 25, Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. completed the offering of $1 billion of 4.75% senior notes due 2028. The notes are senior unsecured obligations and are guaranteed by the company, Mission and certain of both parties’ existing and future restricted subsidiaries on a senior unsecured basis. We used the net proceeds from the offering to redeem in full the $900 million 5.625% senior note offering due 2024 and to pay related premiums, accrued interest, unpaying interest and fees and expenses. With the remainder available for general corporate purposes. I’ll now review Nexstar’s Q3 income statement and balance sheet data, after which I’ll provide an update on our — on some points of guidance going forward. On a combined basis, on a combined company basis and pro forma for the divested stations, third quarter same-station net revenue was up 19% due to approximately $132 million of political advertising and growth in distribution fee revenue, marking a sharp improvement from the 35% decline we endured in Q2.

And continuing, along with consistent monthly sequential improvements we’ve seen since April and into Q4. Same-station distribution fee revenue was up 38%, outsized from prior quarters due to the depressed 2019 Q3 levels related to the AT&T carriage dispute. And continuing digital revenues were down 19%, with local agency services up approximately 16% and station website revenue down approximately 10% due to softer local customer buying trends related to the pandemic. To offset the anticipated impact of COVID-19 on our commercial advertising revenue, late in the first quarter, Nexstar implemented a range of cost-cutting initiatives. These resulted in operating and corporate expense savings in excess of $25 million from the budgeted levels in Q3 of 2020 and had driven savings in excess of $75 million since the onset of the pandemic. All of this in addition to the fact that we have not — we’ve done this without requiring layoffs, furloughs or pay freezes among the general workforce. As noted in this morning’s release, given effect — given that the — effective November 1, we combined our broadcasting and digital operations, commencing with the fourth quarter of 2020, we will no longer report broadcast cash flow because of that. However, investors will still be able to calculate a comparable metric for the combined operations by adding back corporate expenses to adjusted EBITDA, which, of course, we will continue to report alongside free cash flow. Third quarter direct operating expenses net of trade were approximately $421 million, up $318 million in the prior — up from $318 million in the prior year, primarily reflecting a full quarter of incremental expenses related to Tribune and the budgeted growth in network affiliation expense as a partial offset to our rising distribution fee revenue.

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