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Media General raises political revenue outlook, shares rise
(Reuters) - Media General Inc reported a 17 percent increase in its broadcast revenue and raised its political revenue forecast for the full year, sending its shares up more than 12 percent.
The company, which sold almost all its newspaper properties to Berkshire Hathaway in May to focus on its broadcast business, expects full-year political revenue to be about $50 million.
Political spending has hit record highs this year ahead of the U.S. Presidential election in November, with independent "super" political action committees having spent nearly $126 million so far compared with only $32.7 million in the same time period during the 2008 campaign.
Media General, whose broadcast operations include 18 network-affiliated television stations, had earlier forecast political revenue in the range of $40 million to $45 million.
Media General, which still publishes the Tampa Tribune, is in discussions with prospective buyers for the newspaper and its associated print and web operations, and believes a sale is probable, it said on a conference call with analysts.
It also plans to reduce corporate expenses by 35 to 40 percent, it said in a statement.
Net loss in the second-quarter was $146.3 million, or $6.48 per share, compared with a loss of $15.4 million, or 68 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding a $131.7 million charge it recorded on the sale of newspapers to Berkshire Hathaway, Media General reported a 71 cent loss during the quarter.
Operating income for the quarter ended June 24 jumped to $16.4 million from $6.2 million a year earlier.
Broadcast and digital revenue rose to $84.1 million from $71.7 million a year earlier.
Shares of the company, which have fallen more than 4 percent since it agreed to sell the assets, rose more than 12 percent to a high of $4.40 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. (Reporting by Aurindom Mukherjee and Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das, Roshni Menon)
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