UPDATE 1-Gannett revenue falls on newspaper declines
Oct 21 (Reuters) - Gannett Co Inc reported a 4 percent slip in third-quarter revenue to $1.25 billion on Monday because of declines in advertising sales, mainly at its newspaper properties.
Publishing revenue dropped 3.6 percent to $858.1 million on a 6 percent decline in advertising revenue. Circulation revenue - Gannett started charging for digital content a year ago at its U.S. newspapers - also dipped 0.6 percent.
Gannett is the largest U.S. newspaper chain that includes USA Today, but the company has been making a big push into broadcasting to increase its profit margins.
The company nearly doubled its broadcast holdings with its agreement to buy Belo Corp for $1.5 billion. Belo shareholders approved the transaction in the third quarter and Gannett is waiting for government approval before the deal closes.
At Gannett's broadcast TV station divisions, total revenue fell 15 percent to $198.5 million because it did not benefit from the surge of Olympic or political advertising it saw in the third quarter last year.
"It's a mixed bag," Doug Arthur, an analyst at Evercore said about the overall results.
Arthur said the publishing division looked "weak" but that investors have their eye on next year and Gannett's broadcasting division should enjoy a significant boost from the Belo acquisition, Olympic and political advertising spending.
Net income for the quarter was $79.7 million, or 34 cents per share, compared with $133.1 million, or 56 cents per share, for the same quarter last year.
Adjusted for special items, earnings per share was 43 cents, ahead of analysts average expectations of 41 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.