Meredith acquires ‘Shape,’ reports second-quarter growth

Meredith Corp. owns "Better Homes and Gardens."

By Meredith Wilson

Meredith Corp. reported a 30 percent rise in profit for the second quarter compared with last-year’s quarter, due to rising advertising revenues, high-performing acquisitions and disciplined expense control, but fell short of analyst expectations.

For the quarter, which ended Dec. 31, Meredith reported a net income of $39.6 million, or 87 cents per diluted share, a rise from the past-year quarter’s reported income of $30.6 million, or 67 cents. Analysts estimated 98 cents.

However, Meredith’s adjusted EPS of $1 exceeded analysts’ prediction of 98.2 cents adjusted EPS. The company’s reported adjusted net income of $45.4 million beat analyst predictions of $44.6 million adjusted net income, omitting certain one-time charges in both years.

Meredith’s national media group recently acquired two Martha Stewart media properties, and the company’s local media group acquired television stations in Mobile-Pensacola, Fla. and Springfield, Mass. The company announced Wednesday that it had agreed to buy the “Shape” brand from American Media, Inc. for its national media group.

“The acquisition of ‘Shape’ establishes Meredith as the leader in the women’s active lifestyle media category. It expands our reach among millennial women and creates an unmatched opportunity for advertisers to connect with this highly-valued audience across multiple media channels,” Meredith CEO Stephen Lacy said during a conference call.

Revenues for the second quarter were $399 million, a 25 percent increase from the prior-year quarter’s $354 million.

“When you combine our premium branded content, highly engaged consumer audience and rich first-party data drawn from out 100 million name database, it provides a very powerful and unique advertising proposition for clients, helping to maximize our revenue opportunities going forward,” Lacy said during a conference call.

Meredith’s national media segment reported revenue of $242.4 million and its local media reported revenue of $156.5 million.

The company predicted that EPS in the current quarter will be between 66 cents and 71 cents, on par with analysts’ estimate of 70 cents. Actual EPS for last-year’s third quarter was 41 cents. Analysts predict slightly higher third quarter sales at $397 million than the company predicts for itself. Meredith estimates current quarter revenue of $396 million. Last year’s third quarter revenues were $367 million.

The company reported $1.52 diluted EPS, or $69 million net income, for the previous two quarters, ended on Dec. 31, a rise from the previous year’s two-quarter’s diluted EPS of $1.20, or $54.6 million net income. Revenue for the period was $459.5 million, up from $392.1 million from the prior year’s two quarters.

Meredith stock closed at $53.62, up 50 cents.

Photo at top: Cover of “Better Homes and Gardens,” a Meredith Corp. magazine. (Meredith Corp.)