Apollo could land more Jacksonville TV stations

According to reports, the company is buying WFOX and WJAX is interested in acquiring Tegna Inc., the parent of First Coast News.

  • By Mark Basch
  • | 5:10 a.m. August 22, 2019
  • | 5 Free Articles Remaining!
Tegna Inc. owns 49 TV stations including WTLV TV-12 and WJXX TV-25 at 1070 E Adams St. in Jacksonville.
Tegna Inc. owns 49 TV stations including WTLV TV-12 and WJXX TV-25 at 1070 E Adams St. in Jacksonville.
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Apollo Global Management, which already has an agreement to acquire the parent of two Jacksonville television stations, may be trying to buy the parent company of two other stations.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Apollo is interested in Tegna Inc., which owns 49 television stations including WTLV TV-12 and WJXX TV-25 in Jacksonville.

Funds affiliated with Apollo agreed in February to buy control of 14 stations operated by Cox Enterprises Inc., including Jacksonville stations WFOX TV-30 and WJAX TV-47.

Tegna has rebuffed Apollo, the Journal said, so a possible deal is a long way off. But if it did come to fruition, Apollo would almost certainly have to divest one of the Jacksonville groups.

The Tegna stations in Jacksonville operate together under the “First Coast News” banner and the Cox stations feature “Action News.”

Jacksonville’s two other commercial television stations, WJXT TV-4 and WCWJ TV-17, are owned by Graham Holdings Co.

Cox owns WFOX outright and operates WJAX with it under a shared services agreement. 

Apollo expects to complete its acquisition of the Cox group in September.

Apollo also in June agreed to acquire Cox’s portfolio of 60 radio stations, which includes six in Jacksonville.

Tegna formerly was part of a larger media conglomerate that included the Gannett newspaper chain. However, Tegna and Gannett Co. Inc. split into separate public companies in 2015.

Gannett three weeks ago agreed to a buyout by New Media Investment Group Inc., parent of the GateHouse newspaper chain that includes The Florida Times-Union and St. Augustine Record.

Tegna’s stock rose as much as $1.58 to a 52-week high of $16.58 Monday after the Journal report.

Dick’s Wings owner increases sales

ARC Group Inc., operator of the Dick’s Wings restaurant chain, nearly quadrupled revenue in the second quarter to $4.2 million, due in part to the acquisition last year of the Fat Patty’s restaurant chain.

The company had a net loss of $291,561, or 4 cents a share, in the quarter.

ARC Group operated 20 Dick’s Wings and four Fat Patty’s restaurants as of midyear. The company also has an agreement to buy the Tilted Kilt restaurant chain.

In a news release last week, CEO Seenu Kasturi said the company is “making progress” on the Tilted Kilt deal.

“Although this transaction has taken longer than anticipated, the acquisition remains on track and we look forward to providing further updates in the near future,” he said.

ARC Group was headquartered in Jacksonville but moved into a new headquarters office in Orange Park at the beginning of this year.

Drone Aviation becomes profitable

Drone Aviation Holding Corp. last week reported a second-quarter net profit of $53,814, as the Jacksonville-based company benefits from sales of its Winch Aerostat Small Platform tactical system.

The company had revenue of $1.37 million from sales and deliveries of the WASP system and integrated services to U.S. government customers.

Drone Aviation had revenue of only $7,450 in the first quarter.

CEO Jay Nussbaum said in a news release the company will be getting monthly recurring services revenue in support of the U.S. Border Patrol.

“We believe our vision for WASP, fueled by our strategic investments, is now beginning to demonstrate the value we can provide to our government customers on the border and the battlefield,” he said.

Timing affects Duos results

Duos Technologies Group Inc. last week said second-quarter revenue fell 58% to $1.35 million, because of shifts in the timing of projects dictated by customers.

However, the Jacksonville-based provider of intelligent security analytical technology said the delays will not affect its full-year results and it still expects total 2019 revenue of $14 million to $15 million.

“While our revenues will continue to fluctuate between quarters, we believe that these variations will become less pronounced as we grow over the next 24 to 36 months, on our way to building a much larger business,” CEO Gianni Arcaini said in a conference call with investors, according to a transcript posted by the company.

Arcaini said the company is increasing staff in anticipation of more business. It has 85 U.S. employees and 11 contractors overseas, with plans to increase employment by 15% by the end of this year.

Duos’ stock has been trading under $1 but in June, it upgraded its listing from the OTCQB Venture Market to the OTCQX Best Market.

“Graduating to the OTCQX means that we have met the more stringent requirements of the QX market,” Arcaini said.

“We believe trading on the OTCQX offers an opportunity to generate even greater interest in our company from a broader universe of potential investors,” he said.

Arcaini said Duos has plans to upgrade its listing to the more prestigious Nasdaq market.

Duos reported a net loss of $1.95 million, or 8 cents a share, for the second quarter.

ParkerVision reports loss

ParkerVision Inc. last week reported a second-quarter net loss of $1.6 million, or 5 cents a share, with minimal revenue.

The Jacksonville-based developer of wireless technology recorded revenue of $25,000 in the quarter after announcing plans to abandon its Milo in-home Wi-Fi product.

ParkerVision’s main business now is pursuing several patent infringement lawsuits against major mobile communications manufacturers.

“We have significantly reduced operating costs over the past year, and we believe those reductions, paired with additional litigation financing for the completion of our cases in Florida, will enable us to see these cases through to conclusion,” CEO Jeff Parker said in a news release.

“Our longer-term goal is to rebuild ParkerVision’s innovative culture and to continue to bring new solutions to the challenges of a wireless world,” he said.

GEE Group revenue falls in third quarter

GEE Group Inc. last week reported revenue for the third quarter ended June 30 of $38.1 million, 5.3% higher than the second quarter but 5.4% below the third quarter of fiscal 2018.

The Jacksonville-based staffing company had a net loss for the quarter of $6.8 million, or 57 cents a share, which included a $4.3 million noncash goodwill impairment charge.

Coach parent falls on sales miss

Tapestry Inc.’s stock fell to its lowest level in a decade last week after the owner of lifestyle brands Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman reported disappointing sales.

Tapestry’s sales for the fourth quarter ended June 29 rose 2% to $1.51 billion, but that was below the consensus forecast of $1.53 billion of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.

The company also said first-quarter revenue is expected to be slightly lower than last year.

Tapestry expects revenue for all of fiscal 2020 to increase by a low single-digit percentage, but earnings per share are expected to be about the same as the fiscal year ended June 29.

The company’s fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of 61 cents a share, a penny higher than the previous year, met the consensus forecast, Zacks said.

Tapestry said in a news release the main issue affecting its forecast is the expectation of “more modest topline growth” for Kate Spade.

The New York-based company expects sales and earnings to increase at Coach. 

All of Coach’s North American distribution is handled through an 850,000-square-foot facility at the Jacksonville International Tradeport in North Jacksonville.

Tapestry’s stock fell $5.55 to $19.45 last Thursday after its quarterly report.



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