Scripps Provides Post-Split Guidance

Cincinnati-based Scripps, which will separate into two publicly traded companies on July 1, has provided financial guidance for both entities going into the second half of 2008. Post-separation, The E.W. Scripps Co. will operate the newspapers division, 10 TV stations and the print syndication business. The cable networks will be under the domain of Scripps Networks Interactive.

Total television station revenues are expected to be up 16 to 18 percent, on the strength of political advertising revenue, projected to be $38 million during the second half of the year.

Licensing and other media is expected to generate about $6 million in segment profit during the second half of 2008.

Newspaper revenues are expected to drop 8 to 10 percent compared to the same period a year ago, reflecting “weakness in local retail and classified advertising sales, particularly in the company“s California and Florida markets,” Scripps said.

Completion of the split is contingent on a pending ruling by the Securities and Exchange Commission on the related documentation. Scripps said it“s responding to a second round of comments it received from the SEC last month.

The transaction also requires the approval of the company“s controlling shareholders, who will vote on the issue at June 13. There is no public market for the controlling shares, and Ohio law does not require a vote on the transaction by those who hold publicly traded stock. If the split is completed, shareholders of record as of June 16 will receive one share of Scripps Networks Interactive for each share of the original company they own.

The board will also approve a one-for-three reverse split for shares of The E.W. Scripps Co., which will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol, SSP. Both Class A and Common Voting shareholders must approve the reverse split, for which a July 15 vote is scheduled.