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May 14, 2020, 9:03 a.m. EDT

Meredith sees advertisers pull back amid COVID-19

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By Micah Maidenberg

Meredith Corp. reported a wider loss tied to impairment charges and said advertisers pulled back on spending in its latest quarter as the Covid-19 pandemic shut down much of the economy.

The owner of magazines like People as well as 17 television stations on Thursday posted revenue of $701.7 million for its fiscal third quarter that ended March 31, down 6% compared with the year earlier.

Total advertising-related revenue dropped 9.8% year over year. Cancellations and delays in ad spending connected to the coronavirus reduced revenues by $17 million for the quarter, according to the company.

Meredith's performance for the quarter was mostly in line with its expectations "until mid-March when the outbreak of COVID-19 created an extremely challenging advertising environment," Meredith Chief Executive Officer Tom Harty said in a statement.

The Des Moines, Iowa company reported a quarterly loss of $284.4 million, or $6.65 a share, compared with a profit of $23.7 million, or 10 cents a share, the year earlier.

Meredith recorded $384.1 million in impairment charges for the latest period, a move that weighed on earnings, including $296 million in non-cash impairments of goodwill and intangible assets.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization after adjustments fell to $152 million from $161 million, a decrease "driven primarily by Covid-19-related declines in advertising, partially offset by increased political advertising."

Write to Micah Maidenberg at micah.maidenberg@wsj.com

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