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CBS Reports Q2 Earnings

Fate of radio division still unclear

CBS Corp. continues inching closer to spinning off CBS Radio most likely through an initial public offering. However, the company’s second quarter conference call on Thursday shed little new light on exactly how the process might work since company executives continue to say they will look at all alternatives.

CBS’s local broadcasting division, which includes radio and TV, had revenues of $647 million for the second quarter 2016, down 1% from $654 million in the same prior-year period. CBS cited the loss of the NCAA Tournament finals and lower local radio advertising sales for the dip.

CBS Corp. saw revenues for the second quarter increase 2% to $3.29 billion up from $3.22 billion for the same prior-year period, the company said.

CBS Chair/CEO Leslie Moonves said during the earnings release, “Our base business is very healthy, including our strongest upfront selling season in years, which will benefit us beginning in late September when the new higher pricing takes effect.”

Moonves said CBS is “better positioned for growth” since filing paperwork a few weeks ago indicating the company’s intent to split-off CBS Radio via an IPO. “In radio we have taken a major step forward to separate the business from CBS with the filing the notice (for an IPO). We continue to talk about other alternatives, just like we did with outdoor (division), our strategy is to maximize the value of this asset,” he said during the call on Thursday.

CBS COO Joe Ianniello sounded positive we will learn more about CBS Radio’s fate sometime this fall. “We’ll keep everyone up to date over the next few months,” he promised.

CBS Radio, which operates 117 radio stations in 26 U.S. markets, could be worth $2.9 billion, according to estimates from Bloomberg Intelligence. The radio/TV division reported sales of $2.6 billion in 2015, its lowest sales total since 2009.