TEGNA INC revealed 10-K form on Mar 01, 2019.
•Diversifying Audience Traffic Sources: Platforms control an increasing amount of consumer attention, and we have placed an emphasis on diversifying our digital traffic sources and building direct relationships with our audience. In 2018, this included an aggressive strategy around improving our traffic via search engines like Google, growing our presence on YouTube, launching new email newsletter products in 18 markets and decreasing our dependency on traffic from social networks like Facebook. As a result of these efforts, our digital properties have seen improvements of +16% in Loyalty (Visits Per Visitor) and +115% in video views on YouTube during 2018. Since launching an initiative focused on search engine optimization in April 2018, referral traffic to our digital properties via search engines increased +60%.
Diversifying Audience Traffic Sources: Platforms control an increasing amount of consumer attention, and we have placed an emphasis on diversifying our digital traffic sources and building direct relationships with our audience. In 2018, this included an aggressive strategy around improving our traffic via search engines like Google, growing our presence on YouTube, launching new email newsletter products in 18 markets and decreasing our dependency on traffic from social networks like Facebook. As a result of these efforts, our digital properties have seen improvements of +16% in Loyalty (Visits Per Visitor) and +115% in video views on YouTube during 2018. Since launching an initiative focused on search engine optimization in April 2018, referral traffic to our digital properties via search engines increased +60%.
The Communications Act includes a national ownership cap for broadcast television stations that prohibits any one person or entity from having, in the aggregate, market reach of more than 39% of all U.S. television households. FCC regulations permit stations to discount the market reach of stations that broadcast on UHF channels by 50% (the UHF discount). In December 2017, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comments on whether it can or should modify or eliminate the national ownership cap and/or the UHF discount. Our 48 television stations (excluding the stations we currently service under services arrangements) reach approximately 28.5% of U.S. television households when the UHF discount is applied and approximately 33.5% without the UHF discount.
The repacking process is scheduled to occur over a 39-month period, divided into ten phases. Our full power stations have been assigned to phases two through nine, and we expect to complete the repack project by the middle of 2020. To date, we have incurred approximately $17.6 million in capital expenditures for the spectrum repack project (of which $16.3 million was paid during 2018). We have received FCC reimbursements of approximately $7.4 million through December 31, 2018. The reimbursements were recorded as a contra operating expense within our asset impairment and other (gains) charges line item on our Consolidated Statement of Income and reported as an investing inflow on the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows. In 2019, we expect to incur approximately $17.0 million in capital expenditures for the repack project. Each repacked full power commercial television station, including each of our 13 repacked stations, has been allocated a reimbursement amount equal to approximately 92.5% of the station’s estimated repacking costs, as verified by the FCC’s fund administrator. Although we expect the FCC to make additional allocations from the fund, it is not guaranteed that the FCC will approve all reimbursement requests necessary to completely reimburse each repacked station for all amounts incurred in connection with the repack.
Approximately 11% of our employees in the U.S. are represented by labor unions. They are represented by 25 local bargaining units, most of which are affiliated with one of four international unions under collective bargaining agreements. These agreements conform generally with the pattern of labor agreements in the broadcasting industry. We do not engage in industry-wide or company-wide bargaining.
In 2018, 61% of our revenues were derived from television spot and digital advertising. Demand for advertising is highly dependent upon the strength of the U.S. economy, both in the markets our stations serve and in the nation as a whole. During an economic downturn, demand for advertising may decrease. Our advertising revenues can also vary substantially from year to year, driven by the political election cycle (e.g., even years); the ability and willingness of candidates and political action committees to raise and spend funds on television and digital advertising; and the competitive nature of the elections impacting viewers within our stations’ markets. Advertising revenues will also vary based on the coverage of major sporting events (e.g., Olympics and Super Bowl) due to our high concentration of NBC stations.
Our retransmission consent agreements with major cable, satellite and telecommunications service providers permit them to retransmit our stations’ signals to their subscribers in exchange for the payment of compensation to us (which we classify as subscription revenues). This source of revenue represented approximately 38% of our 2018 total revenues, and we expect subscription revenues to increase in 2019 and moving forward. During 2019, retransmission consent agreements covering approximately 50% of our subscribers expire. If we are unable to negotiate and renew these agreements on favorable terms, or at all, the failure to do so could have an adverse effect on our ability to increase our subscription revenues, negatively impacting our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Goodwill and other intangible assets were approximately $4.12 billion at December 31, 2018, representing approximately 78% of our total assets. These assets are subject to annual impairment testing and more frequent testing upon the occurrence of certain events or significant changes in circumstance that indicate all or a portion of their carrying values may no longer be recoverable in which case a non-cash charge to earnings may be necessary. We may subsequently experience market pressures which could cause future cash flows to decline below our current expectations, or volatile equity markets could negatively impact market factors used in the impairment analysis, including earnings multiples, discount rates, and long-term growth rates. Any future evaluations requiring an asset impairment charge for goodwill or other intangible assets would adversely affect future reported results of operations and shareholders’ equity, although such charges would not affect our cash flow.
Revenue increased $304.3 million, or 16%, in 2018 as compared to 2017. This net increase was primarily due to an increase in 2018 political revenue of $210.4 million, driven by the mid-term elections cycle. Also contributing to the net increase was subscription revenue which increased $122.1 million, or 17%, primarily due to annual rate increases under existing retransmission agreements and increases from OTT streaming service providers. These increases were partially offset by a decrease in AMS revenue of $32.9 million, or 3%, in 2018. Increases in AMS from Winter Olympic and Super Bowl advertising, the KFMB station acquisition, and digital advertising (primarily Premion) were offset by declines in digital marketing services (DMS) revenue (primarily due to conclusion of a transition service agreement with Gannett in June 2017) and a softening of demand and the impact of election year political displacement of traditional television advertising.
Revenue decreased $101.1 million, or 5%, in 2017 as compared to 2016. This net decrease was primarily driven by lower political revenue of $131.6 million, due to an expected decrease from 2016 politically related advertising spending. In addition, the decrease reflected a decline in AMS revenue of $98.1 million, or 8%, in 2017. This decline was primarily due to the absence of Olympic revenue in 2017 as compared to $57.3 million in 2016 and lower DMS revenue due to the conclusion of a transition services agreement with Gannett. Partially offsetting the overall AMS decline was an increase in digital revenue, including Premion revenue. Partially offsetting the overall decrease was an increase in subscription revenue of $137.0 million, or 24%, due to the renewal of certain retransmission agreements as well as annual rate increases under other existing retransmission agreements.
Cost of revenue increased $132.2 million, or 14%, in 2018 as compared to 2017. The increase was primarily due to a $63.3 million increase in programming costs (due to the growth in subscription revenues), a $43.5 million increase in digital expenses (primarily due to OTT inventory costs and investments made in the Premion business), and a $13.3 million increase from our KFMB station acquisition, production of original content (Daily Blast LIVE!, local news, and Sister Circle), and variable editorial costs tied to increased revenues (event coverage costs of Olympics and Super Bowl). These increases were partially offset by a decline in DMS costs of $9.3 million due to the conclusion of the transition services agreement with Gannett.
Cost of revenue increased $138.3 million, or 17%, in 2017 as compared to 2016. This increase was primarily due to an $175.9 million increase in reverse compensation related programming costs (primarily driven by 11 of our stations paying NBC reverse compensation payments for the first time in 2017). This increase was partially offset by a decline in DMS costs of $18.7 million driven by the termination of the transition service agreement with Gannett, the absence of $11.4 million of expense related to our 2016 voluntary early retirement program, and a $7.4 million decrease in Cofactor expenses due to its disposition in 2016.
Business unit selling, general, and administrative expenses increased $27.9 million, or 10%, in 2018 as compared to 2017. The increase was primarily driven by a $10.8 million increase due to higher selling costs related to incremental revenue from the mid-term elections, Olympics and Super Bowl. The remaining net $17.1 million increase was primarily due to the acquisition of KFMB and higher legal costs associated with the ongoing Department of Justice investigation – see Note 13 to the consolidated financial statements for further information.
Business unit selling, general, and administrative expenses decreased $43.6 million, or 13%, in 2017 as compared to 2016. The decrease was primarily the result of a $19.3 million decline in DMS selling and advertising expense related to the termination of the transition service agreement with Gannett and a reduction of $2.2 million in severance expense. Also contributing to the decline was the absence of $8.6 million of Cofactor expenses, due to its disposition in December 2016, and the absence of $4.0 million of expense related to our 2016 voluntary early retirement program.
Corporate general and administrative expenses decreased $2.5 million, or 5%, in 2018 as compared to 2017. The decrease was primarily due to lower corporate expenses associated with operational efficiencies associated with right-sizing and stream-lining of the corporate function following the spin-off of Cars.com and the sale of our majority interest in CareerBuilder in 2017. These reductions were partially offset by $5.5 million in severance expense incurred in the third quarter of 2018 due to a reduction in force.
Corporate general and administrative expenses decreased $3.7 million, or 6%, in 2017 as compared to 2016. The decrease was primarily due to a reduction in severance expenses of $0.9 million incurred in 2017. The remaining difference is attributable to the right-sizing and stream-lining of the corporate function in connection with the strategic actions impacting our former Digital Segment.
Depreciation expense increased $0.9 million, or 2%, in 2018 as compared to 2017. The increase was due primarily to the assets acquired in the KFMB acquisition, partially offset by assets becoming fully depreciated.
Depreciation expense decreased $0.3 million, or 1%, in 2017 as compared to 2016. The decrease was primarily due to declines in the purchase of property and equipment, partially offset by additional depreciation related to a change in useful lives of certain broadcasting assets, including accelerated depreciation expense of $1.5 million in connection with the FCC channel repack process.
Intangible asset amortization expense increased $9.3 million, or 43%, in 2018 as compared to 2017. The increase was primarily due to incremental amortization expense resulting from our acquisition of KFMB.
Intangible asset amortization expense decreased $1.7 million, or 7%, in 2017 as compared to 2016. The decrease was a result of certain intangible assets associated with previous acquisitions reaching the end of their useful lives.
Operating income increased $152.6 million, or 28%, in 2018 as compared to 2017. The increase was driven by the changes in revenue and operating expenses described above. Our operating margins were 31.6% in 2018 compared to 28.7% in 2017, primarily driven by increases in political and subscription revenue in 2018.
Operating income decreased $162.3 million, or 23%, in 2017 as compared to 2016, primarily driven by the changes in revenue and operating expenses discussed above. Our operating margins were lower at 28.7% in 2017, compared to 35.3% in 2016, primarily driven by the increase in programming expenses and absence of $131.6 million of political revenue compared to 2016.
Equity income (loss): This income statement category reflects earnings or losses from our equity method investments. Equity income increased $3.4 million, or 33%, from $10.4 million in 2017 to $13.8 million in 2018. The 2018 income was primarily due to $14.2 million of equity earnings from our CareerBuilder investment, resulting from a one-time $17.9 million gain recorded in connection with our share of the gain on sale of its subsidiary, Economic Modeling, LLC (EMSI). The 2017 income was primarily due to a $17.5 million gain we recorded as a result of the sale of our Livestream investment. This income was partially offset by a $2.6 million impairment of an equity method investment.
Interest expense: Interest expense decreased $18.2 million, or 9%, in 2018 as compared to 2017, primarily due to lower average outstanding total debt balance, partially offset by higher interest rates. The total average outstanding debt was $3.09 billion in 2018 compared to $3.59 billion in 2017. The decline in outstanding debt was partially offset by an increase in the weighted average interest rate on total outstanding debt which was 5.90% in 2018, compared to 5.57% in 2017.
Interest expense decreased $21.7 million, or 9%, in 2017 as compared to 2016, primarily due to lower average outstanding total debt balance, due to the $609.9 million mid-year paydown of our revolving credit facility and the accelerated repayment of $280.0 million of principal on unsecured notes due in October 2019. The total average outstanding debt was $3.59 billion in 2017 compared to $4.25 billion in 2016. The decline in outstanding debt was partially offset by an increase in the weighted average interest rate on total outstanding debt which was 5.57% in 2017, compared to 5.29% in 2016.
Other non-operating expenses: Other non-operating expenses decreased $23.8 million, or 67%, from $35.3 million in 2017 to $11.5 million in 2018. The decrease is driven by lower business acquisition/disposition related transaction costs of $5.7 million and lower pension expense of $4.3 million (see Note 7 to the consolidated financial statements). In addition, in 2017 we incurred the following expenses that did not repeat in 2018; $6.6 million of costs incurred in connection with the early extinguishment of debt, a $5.8 million loss associated with the write-off of a note receivable from one of our former equity method investments, and a $3.9 million impairment of our stock investment in Gannett.
We reported pre-tax income from continuing operations attributable to TEGNA of $508.7 million for 2018. The effective tax rate on pre-tax income was 21.1%. The 2018 effective tax rate reflects the 21.0% U.S. federal statutory that was effective January 1, 2018 as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Tax Act) enacted in December 2017. The tax expense for state taxes was partially offset by a tax benefit from finalizing provisional amounts recorded in 2017 from the Tax Act. The 2018 effective tax rate increased compared to 2017 primarily due to the one-time deferred benefit recorded in 2017 in conjunction with the Tax Act.
effective tax rate on pre-tax income was 31.2%. The 2017 effective tax rate decreased as compared to 2016 primarily due to the recognition of the one-time deferred tax benefit recorded in conjunction with the Tax Act.
2018 Change 2017 Advertising & Marketing Services (a)$1,106,754 (3%) $1,139,642Subscription840,838 17% 718,750Political233,613 **** 23,258Other26,077 22% 21,376Total company revenues (GAAP basis)$2,207,282 16% $1,903,026Factors impacting comparisons: Estimated incremental Olympic and Super Bowl$(24,000) **** $(323) Political(233,613) **** (23,258) Discontinued digital marketing services- (100%) (16,673)Total company revenues (Non-GAAP basis)$1,949,669 5% $1,862,772(a) Includes traditional advertising, digital advertising as well as revenue from our DMS business.
Excluding the impacts of incremental Olympic and Super Bowl revenue, Political advertising revenue, and the discontinued digital marketing transition services agreement, total company adjusted revenues on a comparable basis increased 5% in 2018. This is primarily attributable to increases in subscription revenue, partially offset by declines in AMS revenue as described in the Results from Operations section above.
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Adjusted EBITDA margin was 38% (without corporate expense) and 35% including corporate. Our total Adjusted EBITDA increased $149.4 million or 24% in 2018 compared to 2017. The increase was driven by an increase in political, Olympic, and Super Bowl advertising and increases in subscription revenue, partially offset by higher programming costs and investments in Premion associated with its revenue growth.
As of December 31, 2018, our outstanding debt, net of unamortized discounts and deferred financing costs, was $2.94 billion and mainly is in the form of fixed rate notes. See ‘Note 6 Long-term debt’ to our consolidated financial statements for a table summarizing the components of our long-term debt. Approximately $2.69 billion of our debt has a fixed interest rate (which represents approximately 90% of our total principal debt obligation) which minimizes our impact to potential future rising interest rates.
Our primary source of long-term debt is our revolving credit facility (the Amended and Restated Competitive Advance and Revolving Credit Agreement). Under the terms of the credit facility our permitted total leverage ratio is at 5.0x through June 30, 2019, reducing to 4.75x for the fiscal quarter ending September 30, 2019 through the end of the fiscal quarter ending June 30, 2020, and then reducing to 4.50x for the fiscal quarter ending September 30, 2020 and thereafter. Commitment fees on the revolving credit agreement are equal to 0.25% – 0.40% of the undrawn commitments, depending upon our leverage ratio, and are computed on the average daily undrawn balance under the revolving credit agreement and paid each quarter. Under the Amended and Restated Competitive Advance and Revolving Credit Agreement, we may borrow at an applicable margin above the Eurodollar base rate (LIBOR loan) or the higher of the Prime Rate, the Federal Funds Effective Rate plus 0.50%, or the one month LIBOR rate plus 1.00% (ABR loan). The applicable margin is determined based on our leverage ratio but differs between LIBOR loans and ABR loans. For LIBOR-based borrowing, the margin varies from 1.75% to 2.50%. For ABR-based borrowing, the margin will vary from 0.75% to 1.50%. Total commitments under the Amended and Restated Competitive Advance and Revolving Credit Agreement are $1.51 billion. As of December 31, 2018, we were in compliance with all covenants contained in our debt and credit agreements.
Goodwill: As of December 31, 2018, our goodwill balance was $2.6 billion and represented approximately 49% of our total assets. Goodwill represents the excess of acquisition cost over the fair value of assets acquired, including identifiable intangible assets, net of liabilities assumed. Goodwill is tested for impairment on an annual basis (first day of our fourth quarter) or between annual tests if events or changes in circumstances occurred that indicate the fair value of a reporting unit may be below its carrying amount.
We estimate the fair value of our one reporting unit based on a market-based valuation methodology, which is primarily based on our consolidated market capitalization plus a control premium. In the fourth quarter of 2018, we completed our annual goodwill impairment test for our reporting unit. The results of the test indicated that the estimated fair value of our reporting unit significantly exceeded the carrying value. For our reporting unit, the estimated value would need to decline by over 50% to fail the quantitative goodwill impairment test. We do not believe that the reporting unit is currently at risk of incurring a goodwill impairment in the foreseeable future.
Indefinite Lived Intangibles: This asset grouping consists of FCC broadcast licenses related to our acquisitions of television stations. As of December 31, 2018, indefinite lived intangible assets were $1.38 billion and represented approximately 26% of our total assets.
basis point increase in the discount rate would cause the fair value of our FCC licenses (excluding the KFMB licenses) to exceed its carrying value by 30%. KFMB FCC licenses would be impaired by less than $10.0 million as a result of a 50 basis point increase in the discount rate.
We establish the expected long-term rate of return by developing a forward-looking, long-term return assumption for each pension fund asset class, taking into account factors such as the expected real return for the specific asset class and inflation. A single, long-term rate of return is then calculated as the weighted average of the target asset allocation percentages and the long-term return assumption for each asset class. We apply the expected long-term rate of return to the fair value of its pension assets in determining the dollar amount of its expected return. Changes in the expected long-term return on plan assets would increase or decrease pension plan expense. For 2018 we assumed a rate of 7.0% for our long-term expected return on pension assets used for our TRP plan. As an indication of the sensitivity of pension expense to the long-term rate of return assumption, a plus or minus 50 basis points change in the expected rate of return on pension assets (with all other assumptions held constant) would have decreased or increased estimated pension plan expense for 2018 by approximately $1.9 million. The effects of actual results differing from these assumptions are accumulated as unamortized gains and losses.
For the December 31, 2018 measurement, the assumption used for the discount rate was 4.35% for our principal retirement plan. As an indication of the sensitivity of pension liabilities to the discount rate assumption, a plus or minus 50 basis points change in the discount rate at the end of 2018 (with all other assumptions held constant) would have decreased or increased plan obligations by approximately $24.0 million. A 50 basis points change in the discount rate used to calculate 2018 expense would have changed total pension plan expense for 2018 by approximately $0.4 million.
We determine whether it is more likely than not that a tax position will be sustained upon examination by the appropriate taxing authorities before any part of the benefit is recorded in our financial statements. A tax position is measured as the portion of the tax benefit that is greater than 50% likely to be realized upon settlement with a taxing authority (that has full knowledge of all relevant information). We may be required to change our provision for income taxes when the ultimate treatment of certain items is challenged or agreed to by taxing authorities, when estimates used in determining valuation allowances on deferred tax assets significantly change, or when receipt of new information indicates the need for adjustment in valuation allowances. Future events, such as changes in tax laws, tax regulations, or interpretations of such laws or regulations, could have an impact on the provision for income tax and the effective tax rate. Any such changes could significantly affect the amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements in the year these changes occur.
Investments and other assets: Investments where we have the ability to exercise significant influence, but do not control, are accounted for under the equity method of accounting. Significant influence typically exists if we have a 20% to 50% ownership interest in the investee. Under this method of accounting, our share of the net earnings or losses of the investee is included in non-operating income, on our Consolidated Statements of Income. We evaluate our equity method investments for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amounts of such investments may be impaired. If a decline in the value of an equity method investment is determined to be other than temporary, a loss is recorded in earnings in the current period. Certain differences exist between our investment carrying value and the underlying equity of the investee companies principally due to fair value measurement at the date of investment acquisition and due to impairment charges we recorded for certain of the investments. We recognized an impairment charge of $2.6 million in 2017 related to one such investment.
On July 31, 2017, we sold our majority ownership interest in CareerBuilder. Per the terms of the sale agreement, we remain an ongoing partner in CareerBuilder, reducing our 53% controlling interest to approximately 17% interest (or approximately 10% on a fully-diluted basis). As a result, subsequent to the sale, CareerBuilder is no longer consolidated within our reported operating results. See Note 14 for further details regarding the sale.
Equity method investments: We hold several strategic equity method investments. Our largest equity method investment is our ownership in CareerBuilder, of which we own approximately 17% (or approximately 10% on a fully-diluted basis) and has an investment balance of $12.4 million as of December 31, 2018. Our ownership stake provides us with two seats on CareerBuilder’s board of directors and thus we concluded that we have significant influence over the entity.
Pub. L. No. 115-97, commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Tax Act), was enacted into law as of December 22, 2017. Among other provisions, the Tax Act reduced the federal tax rate to 21% effective for us as of January 1, 2018. On the same date, the SEC staff issued Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 118 to address the application of U.S. GAAP in situations when a registrant does not have the necessary information available, prepared, or analyzed (including computations) in reasonable detail to complete the accounting for certain income tax effects of the Tax Act. We recognized the provisional tax impacts related to the revaluation of deferred tax assets and liabilities and included these amounts in our consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2017. We completed our 2017 U.S. federal and state returns in 2018 and recorded measurement period adjustments for the revaluation of deferred tax assets and liabilities at the reduced 21% federal tax rate, which reduced tax expense by $5.4 million and our 2018 effective income tax rate by one percentage point. As of December 31, 2018, the accounting for the income tax effects of the Tax Act has been completed.
The primary objective of company-sponsored retirement plans is to provide eligible employees with scheduled pension benefits. Consistent with prudent standards for preservation of capital and maintenance of liquidity, the goal is to earn the highest possible total rate of return while minimizing risk. The principal means of reducing volatility and exercising prudent investment judgment is diversification by asset class and by investment manager; consequently, portfolios are constructed to attain prudent diversification in the total portfolio, each asset class, and within each individual investment manager’s portfolio. Investment diversification is consistent with the intent to minimize the risk of large losses. All objectives are based upon an investment horizon spanning five years so that interim market fluctuations can be viewed with the appropriate perspective. The target asset allocation represents the long-term perspective. Retirement plan assets will be rebalanced periodically to align them with the target asset allocations. Risk characteristics are measured and compared with an appropriate benchmark quarterly; periodic reviews are made of the investment objectives and the investment managers. Our actual investment return on our TRP assets was -5.6% for 2018, 20.3% for 2017 and 7.4% for 2016.
Substantially all our employees (other than those covered by a collective bargaining agreement) are eligible to participate in our principal defined contribution plan, The TEGNA 401(k) Savings Plan. Employees can elect to contribute up to 50% of their compensation to the plan subject to certain limits.
For most participants, the plan’s 2018 matching formula is 100% of the first 4% of employee contributions. We also make additional employer contributions on behalf of certain long-term employees. Compensation expense related to 401(k) contributions was $13.3 million in 2018, $14.4 million in 2017 and $13.5 million in 2016. We settle the 401(k) employee company stock match obligation by buying our stock in the open market and depositing it in the participants’ accounts.
deficiency in any of the next six plan years, net of any amortization extensions; plans in the yellow zone meet either one of the criteria mentioned in the orange zone; and plans in the green zone are at least 80% funded. A financial improvement plan or a rehabilitation plan is neither pending nor has one been implemented for the AFTRA Plan.
We make all required contributions to the AFTRA plan as determined under the respective CBAs. We contributed $2.4 million in 2018, $2.4 million in 2017 and $1.8 million in 2016. Our contribution to the AFTRA Retirement Plan represented less than 5% of total contributions to the plan. This calculation is based on the plan financial statements issued for the period ending November 30, 2017.
Investments in partnerships are valued at the net asset value of our investment in the fund as reported by the fund managers. The Plan holds investments in two partnerships. One partnership’s strategy is to generate returns through real estate-related investments. Certain distributions are received from this fund as the underlying assets are liquidated. The other partnership’s strategy is to generate returns through investment in developing equity markets. This fund is redeemable with a 30-day notice, subject to a 0.55% charge. Future funding commitments to our partnership investments totaled $0.7 million as of December 31, 2018 and 2017.
As of December 31, 2018, pension plan assets include one hedge fund which is a fund of hedge funds whose objective is to produce a return that is uncorrelated with market movements. Investments in hedge funds are valued at the net asset value as reported by the fund managers. Shares in the hedge fund are generally redeemable twice a year or on the last business day of each quarter with at least 95 days written notice subject to a potential 5% holdback. There are no unfunded commitments related to the hedge funds.
Prior to 2018, senior executives participated in a performance share award plan (PSU) in which the number of shares that an executive receives is determined based upon how our total shareholder return (TSR) compares to the TSR of a peer group of companies during the three-year period. For this PSU award, we recognize the grant date fair value of each PSU, less estimated forfeitures, as compensation expense ratably over the incentive period. Fair value was determined by using a Monte Carlo valuation model. Each PSU is equal to and paid in one share of our common stock, but carries no voting or dividend rights. The number of shares ultimately issued for each PSU award may range from 0% to 200% of the award’s target. No PSUs were awarded in 2018.
We also issue stock-based compensation to employees in the form of RSUs. These awards generally entitle employees to receive at the end of a specified vesting period one share of common stock for each RSU granted, conditioned on continued employment for the relevant vesting period. RSUs granted in 2015 and 2016 vest 25% per year over a four-year vesting period and are settled in common stock at the end of the four-year vesting period. RSUs granted since 2016 vest 25% per year and settle annually. RSUs do not pay dividends or confer voting rights in respect of the underlying common stock during the vesting period. RSUs are valued based on the fair value of our common stock on the date of grant less the present value of the expected dividends not received during the relevant vesting period. The fair value of the RSU, less estimated forfeitures, is recognized as compensation expense ratably over the vesting period. We have generally granted both RSUs and performance share awards to employees on January 1, however, beginning in 2018, awards were granted on March 1 and we expect this will be the annual grant date for the foreseeable future.
carriage of our television stations. We have two customers that purchase both advertising and marketing services and pay us compensation related to retransmission consent agreements, each of which represented more than 10% of consolidated revenues in 2018 and 2017. Such customers represented $245.3 million and $223.8 million of consolidated revenue in fiscal year ended December 31, 2018. The same customers accounted for $215.4 million and $202.4 million of consolidated revenue in 2017, and no customer accounted for more than 10% of consolidated revenues in 2016.
Each repacked full power commercial television station, including each of our 13 repacked stations, has been allocated a reimbursement amount equal to approximately 92.5% of the station’s estimated repacking costs, as verified by the FCC’s fund administrator. Although we expect the FCC to make additional allocations from the fund, it is not guaranteed that the FCC will approve all reimbursement requests necessary to completely reimburse each repacked station for all amounts incurred in connection with the repack.
On July 31, 2017, we sold our majority ownership interest in CareerBuilder to an investor group led by investment funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC, a leading global alternative investment manager, and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board. Our share of the pre-tax net cash proceeds from the sale was $198.3 million. As part of the agreement, we remain an ongoing partner in CareerBuilder, retaining an approximately 17% interest (or approximately 10% on a fully-diluted basis) and two seats on CareerBuilder’s 10 person board. Following the sale, CareerBuilder is no longer consolidated within our reported operating results. Our remaining ownership interest is being accounted for as an equity method investment. In 2018, we recorded $14.2 million of equity earnings from our remaining interest in CareerBuilder.
We agree to furnish to the Commission, upon request, a copy of each agreement with respect to long-term debt not filed herewith in reliance upon the exemption from filing applicable to any series of debt which does not exceed 10% of our total consolidated assets.
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