April 30, 2015

new-media-investment-group-logoNew Media Investment Group reported a 76 percent growth in first quarter revenues compared to the period a year ago on the strength of its buying binge of media companies.

But even leaving the new properties out, the company was able to keep revenues roughly even on a “same store” basis — a good showing for the industry where declines are more common, reflecting its tilt toward small and mid-sized papers.

The company did book a $6 million loss on revenues of $251 million.  However it again raised its dividend, now $1.32 on an annualized basis on a stock trading in the low $20s.

The high dividend and revenue growth have made the stock a favorite of investors. Shares were trading up 4 percent late afternoon, though the stock has declined in the last several months after its hot performance in 2014.

CEO Mike Reed said that the company, formerly Gatehouse Media, has now added $583 million in acquisitions including Halifax Media and the Stephens Media over 18 months.  Enough properties will be coming up for sale, he said, that New Media should easily make its goal of $1 billion in acquisitions by the end of 2016.

Correction: The earlier version of this post mistakenly said New Media bought Stephens Group.  That is a different company

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Rick Edmonds is media business analyst for the Poynter Institute where he has done research and writing for the last fifteen years. His commentary on…
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