Trading of Audacy Shares Halted as New York Stock Exchange Plans to Delist Company
The radio company's shares haven't closed above $1 per share since July 2022.
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has notified radio and podcast giant Audacy of its plan to delist the company’s Class A common stock from the exchange over its consistently low share price, Audacy announced Tuesday (May 16).
According to a press release, “the NYSE will consider commencing delisting procedures when a company’s listed securities experience an abnormally low selling price.” The NYSE abruptly halted trading of Audacy’s stock at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, when shares were trading for $.094 — down slightly from $.10 at the start of the day. The company’s share price is down nearly 63% since the beginning of the year.
NYSE rules require a minimum average closing price of $1 per share over 30 consecutive trading days, but Audacy’s share price hasn’t closed above that threshold since July 5, 2022.
The NYSE has applied to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to delist Audacy’s stock. While that process plays out, trading in the company’s common stock on the exchange will be suspended, though it can still be traded over the counter.
Audacy signaled its intent to appeal the delisting by filing a written request, which it is required to do within 10 days of receiving the delisting notice. If that appeal is successful, the stock may resume trading on the NYSE.
In a statement, Audacy president/CEO David J. Field said that while the company is “disappointed” in the NYSE’s decision, he is “hopeful” that Audacy stock will start trading on the exchange again later this year “as we execute our action plans which include a reverse stock split to satisfy NYSE rules, the continued execution of our liability management plans and working with our financial advisors to refinance our debt.”
Field also stated that the company is confident it “will benefit from a general market recovery and will be able to capitalize on our investments in strategic transformation that position Audacy well for the future.”
Radio companies have been slammed by an advertising slowdown since the second half of 2022, and Audacy has been particularly hard-hit. In its first-quarter earnings released Wednesday (May 10), the company’s net revenue of $259.6 million was down 5.7% year-over-year, while cash operating expenses were up 3%. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was $3.5 million, compared to $26 million in the first quarter of 2022.
On a May 10 earnings call, Audacy CFO Richard Schmaeling noted that the company’s network advertising revenue fell 6% year-over-year due to inflation and rising interest rates (though its podcast advertising revenue was up 14%). He warned that advertising demand has “further softened” since the start of 2023 and added that “it could get worse before it gets better,” noting that the company “is continuing to work to accelerate revenue growth, develop and execute added cost reduction actions and to sell other noncore assets.”
“However,” Schmaeling continued, “these actions may not be sufficient to fully mitigate the impact of potential further advertising weakness.”