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CBS 4Q Profit Drops Due to Pension Payments

CBS Corp. said profit in the fourth quarter fell noticeably owing to a $211 million pension charge.

The New York owner of the CBS broadcast-TV network said net income from continuing operations fell to $271 million, or 63 cents per share, compared with $507 million, or $1.07 per share, in the year-earlier period.  CBS said it offered eligible former employees the option to receive the current value of their pension benefits as a lump sum during the fourth quarter. The year-earlier period had a gain from the sale of an internet business in China.

The company has not included results from its radio unit, which is being split off, in its continuing operations results. The company reported a loss of $113 million including that unit.

Adjusted earnings came to $1.11 per share, surpassing expectations by a penny.

Revenue in the period fell slightly, by 1.94%, due to the company’s most  recent deal with the National Football League that left  the CBS network with three fewer Thursday-night football games to broadcast.

CBS said revenue from its entertainment operations, which include the CBS network, fell 3% to $2.39 billion, citing fewer Thursday-night football games as well as lower ratings from NFL broadcasts in the fourth quarter. Operating income from the same operations rose 7% to$371 million, owing to growth in station affiliation fees. The company also said it notched subscription growth at CBS All Access, its on-demand broadband service.

Revenue from the company’s cable networks came to $501 million, down slightly from $562 million, owing to the absence of an international licensing agreement that was in the year-earlier quarter. Operating income fell to $219 million from $228 million.

Publishing revenues  fell 10% to $209 million. compared with $233 million in the year-earlier period,  which included the release of a bestselling title by Stephen King. Operating income came to $36 million, up 6%, thanks to lower production costs that offset the revenue decline.



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