CBS revenue, earnings fall short of expectations

LOS ANGELES CBS' (CBS) revenue and earnings grew in the final quarter of the year, but the results fell short of analysts' forecasts, sending shares down in after-market trading.

Advertising revenue grew 3 percent, CBS said Thursday. The company pointed out that last year's licensing revenue bump from the sale of CW network shows to Netflix (NFLX) and Hulu wasn't repeated. Local broadcasting revenue grew less than expected and the Simon & Schuster book publishing business declined faster than analysts were bracing for.

"Advertising revenue is growing, and our revenue from non-advertising sources continues to grow even faster," said CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves in a statement. "This includes new recently signed streaming, retransmission consent and reverse compensation deals, as well as ongoing strength in domestic and international syndication sales. Meanwhile, the confidence and visibility we have in our operations, along with the strategic actions we're pursuing at CBS Outdoor, have allowed us to announce today that we are accelerating the pace of our share repurchase program by another billion dollars."

Net income in the three months through Dec. 31 was $393 million, or 60 cents per share. That's up from $370 million, or 55 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding discontinued operations, adjusted earnings came to 64 cents per share. That was below the 69 cents expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue grew 2 percent to $3.7 billion, below the $3.83 billion analysts were expecting.

The company also said it would double its share buyback program by $1 billion in 2013.

CBS is preparing to spin off its outdoor billboard business in North America into a real estate investment trust, which should return a high proportion of its cash flow to investors. It is also planning to sell its European outdoor operations. and CBS Interactive are operating units of CBS.

Excluding the European operations, the outdoor billboard segment's revenue fell.

CBS' stock declined 84 cents, or 2 percent, to $42.10 in after-hours trading.


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