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New Media Announces Solid First Quarter 2016 Results

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New Media Announces Solid First Quarter 2016 Results and Dividend of $0.33 per Common Share;
Announces the Acquisition of Journal Multimedia for $18.0 Million (4/28/16)

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New Media Investment Group Inc. (“New Media” or the “Company”, NYSE:NEWM), one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States as measured by number of publications, today reported its financial results for the first quarter ended March 27, 2016.

First Quarter 2016 Financial Summary

• New Media declares a cash dividend of $0.33 per common share

• Total revenues of $300.1 million, an increase of 19.7% to prior year, and a decrease of 5.1% on a same store basis, the third consecutive quarter of improving same store revenue trends*

• Digital revenue of $27.5 million, an increase of 6.9% to prior year on a same store basis*

• Operating income of $7.0 million, an increase of 170.3% to prior year

• Net income of $5.0 million, an increase of $11.0 million to prior year

• As Adjusted EBITDA of $29.1 million, an increase of 15.1% to prior year*

• Free cash flow of $18.6 million, a decrease of 1.7% to prior year; however, adjusting for one-time cash taxes paid as a result of the gain on sale of the Las Vegas Review Journal (“Vegas”) in the current period, and an interest timing benefit in the prior year, adjusted free cash flow increased 19.6% to prior year*

• Free cash flow per basic share of $0.42*

• Liquidity, consisting of cash on the balance sheet and undrawn revolver, of $119.4 million

Quarter 2016 & Subsequent Business Highlights

• Acquired the Business Information Division of Dolan LLC (“Dolan”) for $35.0 million in Q1

• Completed the acquisition of the Erie Times-News (“Erie”) and related publications and certain liabilities for $11.5 million in Q1

• Purchased ThriveHive, an award winning marketing software company that focuses on small businesses, for $11.8 million in Q1

• Reached an agreement in Q2 to acquire substantially all of the assets of Journal Multimedia, a multi-title publishing, events, media, and research company for $18.0 million in cash, which is expected to close later this quarter

• Propel Marketing (“Propel”), our leading national provider of digital marketing products and services for local businesses, was named a Google AdWords Premier Partner for small and medium sized businesses (“SMBs”)

• Sarasota Herald-Tribune investigations editor, Michael Braga, won the Pulitzer Prize for his role in a year-long investigation with the Tampa Bay Times detailing horrific conditions in Florida’s mental health hospitals

[tables deleted]

Since inception New Media has been committed to its acquisition strategy and our year to date activity reflects the positive momentum we have carried into 2016,” said Michael E. Reed, New Media President and Chief Executive Officer. During the first quarter we deployed over $58 million through three acquisitions:

• Dolan – Leading provider of industry-specific news for the legal, financial, real estate, and government affairs sectors in the 17 markets it serves across the U.S.

• Erie – Daily newspaper, first published in 1888, which is the dominant source of local news and advertising in Erie, Pennsylvania

• ThriveHive – Turnkey proprietary software platform that enables SMB owners to manage their own digital and contact marketing campaigns. We believe this acquisition will help drive higher margins for Propel by transforming it from a marketing services reseller into a software and technology platform.

“Subsequent to the quarter, New Media also reached an agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Journal Multimedia, a multi-title publisher of business journals, trade and consumer magazines, digital products, and a research and events division for $18.0 million in cash, at the mid-point of our acquisition range of 3.5x to 4.5x the seller’s LTM As Adjusted EBITDA. By leveraging its award-winning business and consumer publications, websites, and events, Journal Multimedia has built a unique and diverse audience and advertiser base, which today is made up of the following assets:

• Central Penn Business Journal, NJBIZ, and Lehigh Valley Business – Regional business journals that serve as the leading source of local business news in their respective markets

• Best Companies Group – Rapidly growing research division that partners with local businesses and media outlets to create “Best Places to Work” publications and events

• Central Penn Parent – Family-focused monthly publication in East and Central Pennsylvania

• Pet Age – National trade magazine serving the pet industry

• FGV Media – Digital marketing company that produces video and web services for SMBs

“The acquisition of Journal Multimedia is compelling as it allows us to further build out the B2B media business we created with the acquisition of Dolan in early Q1. Furthermore, and similar to the acquisition of Dolan, we believe Journal Multimedia’s print product subscribers are the ideal candidates for Propel’s services as they consist of SMBs that market themselves online to support and grow their businesses.

“In addition to the steadfast inorganic growth we have been able to achieve through acquisitions, we are also very pleased with Propel’s continued success. During the first quarter, Propel generated $9.8 million of revenue, a 71.4% increase to the prior year. We’re also excited to announce that Propel recently became a Google AdWords Premier SMB Partner. This program connects Google’s trusted AdWords partners with SMBs that want help creating, managing, and optimizing their online advertising campaigns. This distinction recognizes Propel’s proven expertise, experience, and commitment to SMB owners.

“With our traditional media business producing strong cash flows, and ample liquidity available to be deployed into future acquisitions, we remain confident in New Media’s ability to execute on its inorganic growth strategy. Furthermore, as Propel scales across current and new markets, and as new revenue streams are developed, we continue to see a path for the Company to achieve long-term organic revenue growth by year-end 2017. Looking ahead, we believe our highly accretive acquisitions and improving same store revenue trends position New Media to create substantial returns for our shareholders.”

New Media anticipates the Journal Multimedia deal will close in the second quarter of 2016 subject to customary closing conditions; however, there can be no assurance as to the timing or the occurrence of the closing.

First Quarter 2016 Financial Results

New Media recorded total revenues of $300.1 million for the quarter, an increase of 19.7% when compared to the prior year, and a decrease of 5.1% on a same store basis. Q1 represents the third consecutive quarter of improving same store revenue trends. Total Print Advertising decreased 11.2% on a same store basis primarily driven by continued pressure on Local Print Advertising, Preprints, and Classified Print which decreased 14.0%, 11.3%, and 6.9% respectively. The declines in Print Advertising and Preprints reflect the ongoing secular pressure these categories face, and specifically with Preprints, the decline is driven by major retailers pulling back on frequency, seeking rate concessions, and closing stores in our markets.

Digital continues to be a strong revenue category and increased 6.9% on a same store basis to $27.5 million. Propel generated $9.8 million in revenue, an increase of 71.4% to the prior year on a same store basis.

Circulation, our largest individual revenue category at 35% of total revenues, increased 1.4% on a same store basis driven by promotions and methodical price increases to drive revenue growth. Lastly, Commercial Print and Other revenue, on a same store basis, decreased 4.9% to the prior year.

Total expenses were reduced by 6.7% to the prior year, on a same store basis, totaling $271.0 million after adjusting for non-recurring and non-cash items.

As Adjusted EBITDA of $29.1 million increased $3.8 million, or 15.1%, to the prior year. Free cash flow of $18.6 million was negatively impacted by a $0.9 million one-time income tax charge as a result of the gain on sale of Vegas. In addition, the prior year had an interest timing benefit of $2.6 million. Adjusting for these two items, adjusted free cash flow increased 19.6% to the prior year.

First Quarter 2016 Dividend

New Media’s Board of Directors declared a first quarter 2016 cash dividend of $0.33 per share of common stock. The dividend is payable on May 19, 2016 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 11, 2016.

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.

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 Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, 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, April 28, 2016 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 First 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, May 12, 2016 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 “89754742.”

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 our 125 daily publications. As of March 27, 2016, the Company operates in over 520 markets across 35 states. New Media’s portfolio of products, as of March 27, 2016, include over 620 business and community publications and over 520 websites, serve more than 195,000 business advertising accounts, and reach 20 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, adjusted free cash flow, free cash flow, and free cash flow per share 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 Monroe News and ThriveHive (“tuck-in acquisitions”) were funded from the Company’s available cash and 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 transaction and project costs, non-cash items such as non-cash compensation, non-recurring integration and reorganization costs, gain/loss on sale or disposal of assets, 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 the Company’s 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/20160428005574/en/Media-Announces-Solid-Quarter-2016-Results-Dividend

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