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New Media Announces Strong Fourth Quarter & Full

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Enterprising Investor Member Level  Thursday, 02/26/15 09:38:23 AM
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New Media Announces Strong Fourth Quarter & Full Year 2014 Results and an 11.1% Increase in its Dividend to $0.30 per Common Share (2/26/15)

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New Media Investment Group Inc. (“New Media” or the “Company”, NYSE:NEWM) today reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 28, 2014.

Fourth Quarter Financial Summary

• New Media declares a cash dividend of $0.30 per share of common stock for the fourth quarter of 2014, an 11.1% increase vs. Q3 2014

• Total revenues of $186.8 million, an increase of 16.5% to prior year, and an increase of 1.2% on a same store basis*

• Digital revenue of $16.0 million, an increase of 14.2% on a same store basis*

• Operating income of $17.5 million

• Net income of $11.5 million, or $0.31 per share

• As Adjusted EBITDA of $34.3 million, an increase of 3.3% to prior year*

• Free cash flow of $27.8 million, or $0.74 per share, a decrease of 7.1% to prior year*

• Liquidity, consisting of cash on the balance sheet and undrawn revolver, was $143.7 million as of December 28, 2014

Full Year 2014 Financial Summary

• Total revenues of $652.3 million, an increase of 26.3% to prior year, and an increase of 0.1% on a same store basis*

• Digital revenue of $57.9 million, an increase of 8.3% on a same store basis*

• Operating income of $26.4 million

• Net (loss) of ($3.2) million

• As Adjusted EBITDA of $89.4 million, an increase of 13.1% to prior year*

• Free cash flow of $67.6 million, or $2.11 per share, an increase of 141.8% to prior year*

Q4 2014 & Subsequent Business Highlights

• Achieved strongest quarterly Digital revenue growth, increasing 14.2% vs. an average increase of 6.3% for the previous quarters in 2014

• Closed one acquisition in Q4 2014 for $5.0 million; closed one acquisition and announced another in Q1 2015 for a total purchase price of $382.5 million

• Added a net balance of $102.0 million of incremental debt through our existing term loan and assumed $18.0 million of debt from Halifax in Q1 2015; total gross debt as of February 26, 2015 is approximately $350 million

• Completed an equity offering in Q1 2015 raising gross proceeds of approximately $152 million, increasing our liquidity position and ability to execute on our acquisition strategy

[tables deleted]

Michael E. Reed, New Media President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Our strong fourth quarter results highlight the value of our local newspaper content, and reinforce that the investments we are making in our print and digital initiatives are creating value for the Company. Total revenues for the quarter increased 16.5% vs. prior year, and also increased 1.2% on a same store basis. Impressively, Digital revenue increased 14.2% on a same store basis, driven primarily by strong growth in our digital marketing services business, Propel, which increased 171.0% vs. prior year.

“For the full year, the business achieved year over year growth in our Digital, Commercial Print and Circulation revenue categories, increasing 8.3%, 7.8% and 0.9% on a same store basis, respectively. Throughout 2014, we focused on increasing our revenue from these stable and growing revenue categories, and I’m pleased to report that approximately 62% of New Media’s total revenue is now derived from Digital, Circulation, Preprints and Commercial Printing revenue. Going forward, we intend to invest in these categories, as well as our new digital initiatives and other businesses, such as our Center for News and Design, to further diversify our revenue mix away from traditional Print Advertising.

“In addition to the success the newspaper business has achieved, I am also very proud of New Media’s acquisition track record. To date, New Media has announced eight transactions for approximately $540 million, including our recently announced acquisition of Stephens Media. Pro forma for acquisitions we have closed to date, New Media has approximately $1.1 billion in total revenues, $157.0 million of As Adjusted EBITDA, and $125.5 million of free cash flow. Given the accretive acquisitions we have been able to execute on, I’m pleased to announce the Board of Directors has voted to increase the Q4 dividend to $0.30 per common share, an 11.1% increase vs. the previous dividend payment. With total gross debt at approximately $350 million, we remain focused on operating the Company with a modest leverage profile at approximately 2.2x gross debt.

“Looking forward to 2015, we are excited about the opportunity to leverage our in-market sales force, and our position as a leading provider of local content in the communities we serve, to grow total revenues. We believe our centralized services continue to put us in an advantageous position to execute on accretive acquisitions. With our strong cash flow, a healthy dividend and the right capital structure, we are very excited about our opportunity to continue to create substantial value for our shareholders.”

Fourth Quarter 2014 Financial Results

New Media recorded revenues of $186.8 million for the quarter, which represents an increase of 16.5% when compared to the prior year, and an increase of 1.2% on a same store basis.

Total Print Advertising decreased 0.4% on a same store basis driven by Local Display and Preprints which decreased 5.5% and 1.3%, respectively. The declines in Print Advertising were offset by Classified Print revenue which increased 6.5% on a same store basis. Classified Print revenue trends continue to show improvement over prior quarters driven by growth in obituaries revenue and legals advertising. New Media’s Digital category also contributed to the Company’s overall strong revenue performance increasing 14.2% on a same store basis, driven by Propel revenue increasing 171.0% vs. the prior year. Circulation and Commercial Print and Other remain relatively stable with revenue increasing 1.2% and decreasing 0.2% on a same store basis, respectively.

Total expenses in the quarter of $152.5 million increased $6.0 million, or 4.0%, compared to the prior year on a same store basis after adjusting for non-recurring and non-cash items. Expense increases were driven partially by investments in our digital initiatives, such as Propel and BestRide, and our print initiatives, such as the Center for News and Design. To note, the Center for News and Design was chosen by the Associated Press to design and produce their Sports Extra pages, starting with the Super Bowl this year. We believe our investments in both our print and digital businesses are leading to improved revenue trends.

Net income of $11.5 million in the fourth quarter was burdened by approximately $5.2 million of expenses related to acquisitions, financing and restructuring. As Adjusted EBITDA of $34.3 million increased $1.1 million, or 3.3%, over the prior year.

Fourth Quarter 2014 Dividend

New Media’s Board of Directors declared a fourth quarter 2014 cash dividend of $0.30 per share of common stock. The dividend is payable on March 19, 2015 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on March 11, 2015.

The declaration and payment of any dividends are at the sole discretion of the Board of Directors, which may decide to change the Company’s dividend policy at any time.

Full Year 2014 Financial Results

New Media recorded revenues of $652.3 million in 2014, which represents an increase of 26.3% when compared to the prior year, and was relatively flat on a same store basis, increasing 0.1% vs. prior year.

Total Print Advertising decreased 2.7% on a same store basis; however, New Media’s Digital and Commercial Print and Other businesses increased 8.3% and 7.8% on a same store basis. Propel, our digital marketing services business, contributed $18.5 million to Digital revenue, an increase of 189% vs. prior year on a same store basis. Circulation revenue, our largest individual revenue category at 30% of total revenues, increased 0.9% on a same store basis.

Total expenses in 2014 of $562.9 million increased $8.2 million, or 1.5% compared to the prior year on a same store basis after adjusting for non-recurring and non-cash items.

Net (loss) of ($3.2) million for 2014 was burdened by approximately $17.4 million of expenses related to acquisitions, financing and restructuring. As Adjusted EBITDA of $89.4 million increased $10.3 million, or 13.1%, over the prior year.

Additional Information

For additional information that management believes to be useful for investors, please refer to the presentation posted on the Investor Relations section of New Media’s website, www.newmediainv.com and the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, which will be available on the Company’s website. Nothing on our website is included or incorporated by reference herein.

Earnings Conference Call

New Media’s management will host a conference call on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 11:00 A.M. Eastern Time. A copy of the earnings release will be posted to the Investor Relations section of New Media’s website, www.newmediainv.com.

All interested parties are welcome to participate on the live call. The conference call may be accessed by dialing 1-877-601-8827 (from within the U.S.) or 1-918-534-8645 (from outside of the U.S.) ten minutes prior to the scheduled start of the call; please reference “New Media Fourth Quarter Earnings Call.”

A simultaneous webcast of the conference call will be available to the public on a listen-only basis at www.newmediainv.com. Please allow extra time prior to the call to visit the website and download any necessary software required to listen to the internet broadcast.

A telephonic replay of the conference call will also be available approximately two hours following the call’s completion through 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time on Thursday, March 12, 2015 by dialing 1-855-859-2056 (from within the U.S.) or 1-404-537-3406 (from outside of the U.S.); please reference access code “70992476.”

Fortress Public Filings, Earnings Release and Conference Call

Certain financial information and results for New Media may be disclosed by Fortress Investment Group LLC (“Fortress”, NYSE: FIG) in annual and quarterly reports and other public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as in earnings releases and conference calls. These disclosures may occur prior to the release of this information by New Media.

Management of Fortress will host a conference call on February 26, 2015 at 10:00 A.M. Eastern Time. All interested parties are welcome to participate on the live call. The Fortress conference call may be accessed by dialing 1-877-694-6694 (from within the U.S.) or 1-970-315-0985 (from outside of the U.S.) ten minutes prior to the scheduled start of the call; please reference “Fortress Fourth Quarter Earnings Call.” A simultaneous webcast of the Fortress conference call will be available to the public on a listen-only basis at www.fortress.com on the Investor Relations page. A copy of the Fortress earnings release will be posted to the Investor Relations section of Fortress’ website, www.fortress.com. Nothing on the Fortress website is included or incorporated by reference herein.

About New Media Investment Group Inc.

New Media is focused primarily on investing in a high quality, diversified portfolio of local media assets, and on growing existing advertising and digital marketing businesses. The Company is one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States as measured by the number of daily publications. Including the acquisition of Halifax Media, the Company operates in over 415 markets across 31 states. Including the acquisition of Halifax Media, New Media’s portfolio of products which include over 490 community publications, over 415 related websites, and six yellow page directories, serve more than 175,000 business advertising accounts and reach over 19 million people on a weekly basis.

For more information regarding New Media and to be added to our email distribution list, please visit www.newmediainv.com.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

The Company strongly urges stockholders and other interested persons not to rely on any single financial measure to evaluate its business. In addition, because same store results, Adjusted EBITDA, As Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow are not measures of financial performance under GAAP and are susceptible to varying calculations, these non-GAAP measures, as presented in this press release, may differ from and may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies.

Same Store Results

Same store results, a non-GAAP financial measure, take into account material acquisitions and divestitures of the Company by adjusting prior year performance to include or exclude financial results as if the Company had owned or divested a business for the comparable period. The acquisition of each of Victorville, American Consolidated Media Southwest, Petersburg Progress-Index and Foster’s Daily Democrat is not considered material.

Adjusted EBITDA, As Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow

The Company defines Adjusted EBITDA as net income (loss) from continuing operations before income tax expense (benefit), interest/financing expense, depreciation and amortization and non-cash impairments. The Company defines As Adjusted EBITDA as Adjusted EBITDA before other non-cash items such as non-cash compensation, non-recurring integration and reorganization costs and Adjusted EBITDA from non-wholly owned subsidiaries. The Company defines free cash flow as As Adjusted EBITDA less capital expenditures, cash taxes, interest paid and pension payments.

Management’s Use of Adjusted EBITDA, As Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow

Adjusted EBITDA, As Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow are not measures of financial performance under GAAP and should not be considered in isolation or as alternatives to income from operations, net income (loss), cash flow from continuing operating activities or any other measure of performance or liquidity derived in accordance with GAAP. New Media’s management believes these non-GAAP measures, as defined above, are useful to investors for the following reasons:

• Evaluating performance and identifying trends in day-to-day performance because the items excluded have little or no significance on its day-to-day operations;

• Providing assessments of controllable expenses that afford management the ability to make decisions which are expected to facilitate meeting current financial goals as well as achieving optimal financial performance; and

• Indicators for management to determine if adjustments to current spending decisions are needed.

Adjusted EBITDA, As Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow provide New Media with measures of financial performance, independent of items that are beyond the control of management in the short-term, such as depreciation and amortization, taxation and interest expense associated with its capital structure. These metrics measure New Media’s financial performance based on operational factors that management can impact in the short-term, namely the cost structure or expenses of the organization. Adjusted EBITDA, As Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow are some of the metrics used by senior management and the Board of Directors to review the financial performance of the business on a monthly basis. In addition, New Media’s management utilizes these metrics to evaluate the Company’s performance, along with other criteria, to determine the funds available for paying the quarterly dividend.

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150226005495/en/Media-Announces-Strong-Fourth-Quarter-Full-Year#.VO8vI4ktGUk

"Someone said it takes 30 years to be an instant success" - Gabriel Barbier-Mueller, CEO of Harwood International
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