Friday, February 29, 2008

Scripps Disclosure Challenged

EW Scripps (SSP) announced a net loss for the fourth quarter of $256 million, or $1.56 per share, The company's net loss for the full year, including the effects of the non-cash charge, was $1.6 million, or 1 cent per share, vs. net income of $353 million, or $2.14 per share, in 2006. The charge reduced net income for 2007 by $382 million or $2.32 per share.

The press release which was issued after market close on Friday Feb 29 was very light on any management discussion about what is going on. They did refer to a preliminary release where they claim to have come out with the necessary information. The only item that I can find is a release dated Jan 31,2008.

In this release they announced preliminary operating results for the fourth quarter 2007, reflecting strong revenue and segment profit growth at Scripps Networks, the operating division that includes HGTV, Food Network and the company's other national lifestyle television networks. The preliminary fourth-quarter operating results do not include an anticipated non-cash charge against earnings for impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets related to losses and challenging business conditions at the company's uSwitch subsidiary in the United Kingdom.

They then laid this one out “Operating income in the fourth quarter was $205 million vs. $214 million in the fourth quarter 2006. Operating income during the fourth quarter 2007 included $3.5 million in transition costs related to the proposed separation of the company that was announced in October. Consolidated fourth-quarter revenue was $679 million compared with $683 million during the same period a year ago.”

We jump from this happy type of commentary to an end of day sneak it out after the market closes release. Management is not standing up and facing the music. One may conclude that they are not even listening to the music.