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Clear Channel’s profit falls but beats analysts’ forecast

From the Associated Press

Clear Channel Communications Inc., which is examining whether to sell all or parts of itself, said Monday that third-quarter earnings fell 9.5%, but the largest operator of radio stations in the country eked out higher-than-expected profit and revenue.

Clear Channel said net income for the three months ended Sept. 30 fell to $185.9 million, or 38 cents a share, from $205.5 million, or 38 cents, last year, which included profit of $33.6 million from discontinued operations.

Analysts were looking for earnings of 37 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial.

Revenue rose 7% to $1.79 billion from $1.68 billion last year, exceeding Wall Street’s average estimate of $1.78 billion. Radio revenue rose 5% on higher selling prices for national advertising.

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Revenue from Clear Channel Outdoor, which sells advertising on billboards and at bus stops, rose 8% from a year earlier. Outdoor revenue grew 12% in the company’s Americas segment. Internationally, Outdoor revenue grew 4%, the company said, with declines in billboard revenue in France and Britain offset by revenue growth from street furniture, such as bus shelters.

Operating expenses rose at each of the company’s divisions, with the total increasing 5% to $1.16 billion.

Last week the company’s board said it had hired Goldman Sachs to review “strategic alternatives,” which analysts said could include a sale of the company to a private equity firm or the founding Mays family, which owns 7% of the company’s shares.

If the family decides it wants to take the company private, the share price could continue to rise, with some analysts saying a price of $37 to $40 a share is reasonable.

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Shares of San Antonio-based Clear Channel fell 23 cents to $34.47 on Monday.


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