Herb Siegel’s Chris-Craft Industries said net profits for the first quarter soared to $2.9 million from $748,000 in the year-earlier period, as a 41% jump in TV operating income more than offset losses from the United Paramount Network.
Revenues were up 15% to about $128 million.
TV station owner Chris-Craft recently ceded its 50% interest in UPN to Viacom, its former partner in the net, for $5 million. Chris-Craft’s UPN stake was housed in its 80%-owned subsid BHC Communications, which reported Wednesday that its quarterly earnings rose to $4.4 million from $1.9 million.
UPN investment hurt
Company took a $36 million hit last quarter from its investment in UPN, as the five-year-old net continued to lose money. “As BHC has sold its UPN interest, BHC will have no future UPN funding requirements or UPN equity losses,” Chris-Craft said in a statement. “Our eight UPN affiliated stations remain important distributors of the network’s programming.”
The stations are in major markets, including New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Viacom elbowed Chris-Craft out of the partnership by triggering a “buy-sell” provision in the contract. It offered to buy Chris-Craft’s stake in UPN for $5 million or sell its own stake for the same amount.
Not ready for 100%
As a junior partner in the arrangement — lacking Viacom’s deep pockets and production assets — Chris-Craft wasn’t ready to take on 100% of the UPN investment on its own.
Chris-Craft’s TV station profit rose 38% to $36.9 million. Through a complex corporate structure, the company owns 10 stations in total, with three directly held by BHC and seven by BHC’s 57%-owned subsid United Television.