May 10, 2017 / 12:01 PM / 2 years ago

U.S. broadcaster Tribune posts surprise quarterly loss

The Tribune Tower in Chicago, April 2, 2007. REUTERS/John Gress

(Reuters) - U.S. broadcaster Tribune Media Co (TRCO.N), reported a quarterly loss on Wednesday, compared with a profit a year earlier, hurt in part by lower ad revenue from its TV and entertainment business and as it took an impairment charge.

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc (SBGI.O) on Monday said it would buy Tribune for about $3.9 billion, giving Sinclair a greater foothold in big broadcast markets like New York and Chicago.

The announcement comes after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to reverse a 2016 decision that limits the number of stations a broadcaster can buy.

The sale comes after a decade of turmoil for Tribune, which was acquired by real estate mogul Sam Zell and then by private equity firms.

Tribune said revenue from the television and entertainment division, which is the company’s largest by sales, fell to $436.0 million in its first quarter ended March 31 from $455.9 million a year ago.

Tribune’s net loss was $85.6 million, or 99 cents per share, in the quarter, compared with a net income of $11.1 million, or 12 cents per share, a year earlier. The company said it recorded an impairment charge of $122 million.

Operating revenue fell to $439.9 million from $468.5 million.

Excluding items, the company posted a loss 7 cents per share. Analysts on average estimated earnings of 7 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Reporting by Pushkala A and Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Martina D'Couto

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