Earnings: CBS Slashes Dividend; Q4 Interactive Revenues Up Scant 1 Percent

This story was written by Staci D. Kramer.
How much was CNET Networks worth to CBS (NYSE: CBS) in Q408? About $25 million in operating income, give or take a few thousands. Without CNET, CBS Interactive operating income was about $1.4 million; with it, CBS reported $28.7 million in operating income on revenues that were up 1 percent. Operating income before depreciation and amortization rose to $51.7 million, up from $6.9 million in Q407. In a twist on some of its competitors, CBS also reported an 8 percent increase in display ad sales. The unit still operated at a loss for the full year, albeit a more narrow one than the previous year: $9.3 million for 2008 versus an operating loss of $21.7 million for Q407.

Looking at the bigger picture, CBS revenues were down 6 percent year over year, to $3.5 billion from $3.76 billion. Operating income, including the impact of acquiring CNET, dropped 58 percent, to $298 million from $704 million the previous year. Net income came out at $136.1 million for earnings per share of $136.1 million, or $0.20 per share, compared with $273.1 million, or $0.40 per share in Q407. CBS also bowed to reality, announcing Wednesday it would cut its quarterly dividend by more than 80 percentto $0.05 from $0.22, opting instead to keep more of its cash. More to come.

Earnings release | Webcast (4:30 p.m. et)

By Staci D. Kramer