Cumulus Media Inc. (NASDAQ:CMLS) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 21, 2020 • 08:30 am ET

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Cumulus Media Inc. (NASDAQ:CMLS) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Welcome to the Cumulus Media Quarterly Earnings Conference Call. I will now turn it over to Collin Jones, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy.

Sir, you may proceed.

Executive
Collin Jones

Thank you, operator. Welcome, everyone, to our fourth quarter and full year 2019 earnings conference call. I'm joined today by our President and CEO, Mary Berner; and our CFO, John Abbot.

Before we start, please note that certain statements in today's press release and discussed on this call may constitute forward-looking statements under federal securities laws. Actual results may differ materially from the results expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. These statements are based on management's current assessments and assumptions, and they're subject to a number of risks and uncertainties.

In addition, we'll also use certain non-GAAP financial measures. We believe the supplementary information is useful to investors, although it should not be considered superior to the measures presented in accordance with GAAP. A full description of these risks as well as financial reconciliations to non-GAAP terms are in our press release and 10-K. Some of this information hasn't yet been updated on our website as a result of some technical issues, but we hope to get that up soon, so in the meantime you should be able to access the press release and filings via various wireless services, researches and also on the SEC's, Edgar website. A recording of today's call will be available for about a month and details for how to access that replay can also be found on our website.

With that, I'll now turn it over to our President and CEO, Mary Berner. Mary?

Executive
Mary Berner

Thanks, Collin, and good morning, everyone. I'm pleased to report that 2019 was another year of strong performance for Cumulus.

Here are the headlines. For the second year running, we delivered an increase in revenue on the same station basis driven by industry-leading digital growth of nearly 60%. For the third consecutive year, we grew adjusted EBITDA ex-political. We generated $146.5 million of gross proceeds from a number of significantly accretive transactions, which were completed at a more than 13 times multiple. We completed two swaps, which created market-leading clusters in our Indianapolis and Allentown markets. We generated strong operating cash flow of $94 million, normalizing for M&A related items. We paid down $220 million of debt reducing net leverage to 4.7 times, bringing our total debt pay down since emergence from Chapter 11 to $275 million, which in total translates to approximately $13.75 per share of value. And we executed a full recapitalization of our balance sheet that lowered interest costs and extended maturities to 2026. It was a busy and, thanks to all the efforts of our terrific team, a productive year.

Turning to fourth quarter, revenue was down 4.4% on a same station basis and down 1.7%, excluding political, in line with pacing we gave during our last earnings call. Expenses for the quarter came in slightly better than we had indicated. However, those gains did not fully