Political ads boost Media General income

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Strong political advertising and higher retransmission fees gave Richmond-based Media General Inc. a second-quarter operating income of $16.4 million, compared with $6.2 million in the 2011 second quarter.

The company had net loss for the quarter of $146.3 million, or $6.48 per share, including an after-tax loss of $131.7 million related to the divestiture of discontinued operations.

By comparison, the company reported a net loss of $15.4 million, or 68 cents per share, in the 2011 second quarter.

On June 25, Media General became a pure-play broadcast television company after the sale of virtually all of its newspapers to a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, World Media Enterprises.

Media General is in discussions with prospective buyers for The Tampa Tribune and its associated print and web operations and believes a sale is probable. All Media General newspapers are now shown as discontinued operations, as are and Professional Communications Systems, a broadcast equipment business.

EBITDA from continuing operations (income before interest, debt modification costs, taxes, and depreciation and amortization) was $22.7 million, compared with $13.7 million in the 2011 period.

Debt at the end of the second quarter was $652 million, compared with $658 million at the end of the first quarter of 2012. In the second quarter of 2012, Media General entered into a new financing arrangement with Berkshire Hathaway that provided the company with a $400 million term loan and a $45 million revolving credit line.

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