Tag Archives: E.W. Scripps

Scripps Agrees to Sell Stitcher to SiriusXM for $325 Million



The E.W. Scripps Company has entered into an agreement with SiriusXM to sell podcast industry leader Stitcher for $325 million, a return of more than double Scripps’ investment in podcasting over the last five years.

The Stitcher company includes three distinct podcast business lines: the Midroll advertising rep firm; owned-and-operated podcast networks including comedy-focused Earwolf; and the Stitcher podcast listening platform.

Scripps was an early entrant into podcasting, acquiring Midroll in 2015 for $55 million and the Stitcher app in 2016 for $45 million. Since then, Stitcher has been a leader in the fast-growing podcast industry, growing revenue at CAGR of 52% from 2016-19. Stitcher’s 2019 revenue was $7.6 million.

The opportunity for Stitcher and its employees to join a large pure-play audio company ensures it will expand upon its success, Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson said.

“The sale is consistent with Scripps’ track record of growing businesses that capitalize on the evolution of consumers’ media habits and then unlocking shareholder value through spinoffs, exits, and continued organic growth,” said Symson. “Over and over, this strategy has proven effective as well as profitable for the company and its shareholders.”

“Today’s announcement, and the metrics around this sale, are an affirmation of our investment-for-growth strategy. We are firmly committed to our national businesses and are enthusiastic about the opportunities we see ahead of digital audio, over the top and over the air television.”

Transaction highlights:

    •  Sale price of $325 million, with $265 million of cash upfront; earnout of up to $30 million based on 2020 financial results and paid in 2021; earnout of up to $30 million based on 2021 financial results and paid in 2022
    • Full price representing an internal rate of return after taxes in the mid-20% range and cash-on-cash return of more than 2x, which incorporates the purchase prices for Midroll and Stitcher of $59.5 million as well as Scripps’ investments in the business over the last five years
    • Improvement in National Media segment profit and company EBITDA with the elimination of Stitcher annual losses in the high-teens millions of dollars
    • Estimated tax liability of approximately $70 million assuming the full earnout is achieved. Scripps has approximately $190 million of net operating loss carryforwards that would offset about $40 million in 2020 tax liabilities.
    • The move of all Stitcher employees to SiriusXM

“As a result of this transaction, Scripps is improving our leverage ratio through higher company EBITDA and garnering cash we can use toward debt reduction, which continues to be our highest priority,” Scripps Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Lisa Knutson said.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter, pending Hart-Scott-Rodino clearance. LionTree Advisors has acted as exclusive advisor to Scripps in the sale process, and BakerHostetler is serving as legal counsel.


Scripps to Acquire Triton



The E.W. Scripps Company is acquiring Triton, the global leader in digital audio technology and measurement services, helping Scripps advance its strategies for near- and long-term value creation.

Triton serves the growing digital audio marketplace through a software-as-a-service (Saas) business-to-business revenue model. Triton powers or measures streaming music and podcasting for many of the biggest names in audio, including Pandora, Spotify, NPR, iHeart, Entercom, Cumulus, Prisa (Spain), Mediacorp (Singapore) and Karnaval (Turkey).

Triton’s infrastructure and ad-serving solutions deliver live and on-demand audio streams and insert advertisements into those streams. Triton’s data and measurement service is recognized as the currency by which publishers sell digital audio advertising.

Financial highlights include:

  • The purchase price is $150 million.
  • The transaction will be financed with cash on hand.
  • Triton will immediately be accretive to company margins.
  • Triton’s 2018 revenue is projected to be approximately $40 million, with EBITDA projected in the mid-teen millions.
  • Triton’s 2019 revenue is projected to grow in the low or mid-teens percent range over 2018.
  • The revenue multiple for the transaction is about 3.7x; the EBITDA multiple is about 9x.
  • This is a stock acquisition, and therefore there is no step-up in the assets for tax purposes.

E.W. Scripps is Selling its 34 Radio Stations



E.W. Scripps announced on January 25, 2018, that it is creating a stronger, more streamlined and higher-preforming company through comprehensive restructuring and cost reductions expected to yield more than $30 million in annual cost savings.

The company plans to sell its 34 radio stations and has retained Kalil & Co., Inc. to handle the process.

“Today, Scripps is a dynamic leader in the media industry through its strong local TV station portfolio, its growing multicast network, its national news network and its podcasting business,” Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson said. “The enterprise-wide restructuring positions us well for continued growth while maintaining high-quality journalism as our central focus.”

During the third-quarter 2017, the company began its restructuring with a $2.4 million restructuring charge. The company will take a restructuring charge of $2 million in the fourth quarter, estimates a $4 million charge in the first quarter and expects to take smaller quarterly charges into 2019.

The annual cost savings are driven by reductions in head count and operating expenses over the next 12-18 months. These include centralization of services and technology; sharing of resources; elimination of redundant positions and services; and other expense reductions.

Another component of the company’s performance-improvement plan is its high priority on configuring a more durable TV station portfolio during this period of changing local market regulations.

“This plan is consistent with our goal to create both short-term and long-term value by improving margins and cash flow in our local media business and supporting the growth of our national businesses,” said Symson. “Our restructuring analysis also led us to determine the time is right to find a new owner for our radio group that can provide the focus and resources the stations and their creative, devoted employees deserve.”


E.W. Scripps Seeks Executive Producer for Earwolf



Earwolf logoE.W. Scripps acquired Midroll Media in 2015, a move that made Midroll Media a wholly-owned subsidiarity of the E.W. Scripps Company. They are currently seeking an Executive Producer for Earwolf.

Midroll is the parent company of Earwolf, a comedy podcasting network. It has more than 35 shows that are produced weekly. Some of those shows include: Seth Godwin’s Startup School, Maltin on Movies (with Leonard Maltin and Baron Vaughn), With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus (hosted by Lauren Lapkus), Rhona & Beverly (hosted by Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo), and The Longest Shortest Time (hosted by Hillary Frank), to name just a few.

The Executive Producer will lead Midroll’s network of weekly shows. He or she will work closely with their talent and the production teams in LA and NYC to launch great new shows, improve the content of existing Earwolf productions and engage and grow the audience. The Earwolf Executive Producer “will have a strategic vision for the network, prioritizing audience growth and content excellence”.

The position is listed as “full-time”. Midroll has a strong preference for candidates who are experienced in working in the comedy genre. If this is something that interests you, it would be a good idea to read the full job description over at E. W. Scripps.