The proposed sale of Regnery Publishing by parent company Salem Media Group has been called off. Salem, the Christian and conservative radio broadcasting company, is in the process of a widespread divestiture program aimed at lowering its debt load. The company has struggled this year with a weak advertising market; its revenue fell 2.7% in the first nine months of the year, to $192.8, and its operating loss skyrocketed, to $44.6 million, in the period compared to operating income of $3.5 million last year. Due to the company’s financial issues, its share price fell below $1 in late May, and has been hovering around 60 cents in recent days.
In its financial filing for the period ended September 30, Salem reported that it sold three radio stations in the period and expected to soon close on three other transactions, including the sale of Salem Church Products, for $30 million. In the conference call discussing the third quarter, executives said that Salem will use the sale proceeds to pay down debt, and noted that the company is continuing to evaluate other assets that it could sell. One of those assets was Regnery, but while a number of sources told PW a sale was close to being done, those sources said that the sale has now been called off. Salem executives did not respond to a request by PW for comment.
Regnery is part of Salem's publishing division along with the self-publishing company Salem Author Services. For the nine-month period, sales in the publishing division dipped 2.5%, to $14.4 million. The division had a particularly difficult third quarter when sales fell 17.5% in the quarter ended September 30, 2023, from the comparable period a year ago. Sales dropped to $4.6 million, from $5.5 million in the third quarter of 2022.
Sales at Regnery dropped 19.2%, to $2.6 million, while self-publishing sales declined to $1.5 million, from $1.8 million in last year’s third quarter. Salem attributed the sales drop at Regnery to a lighter publishing schedule compared to last year’s third quarter. The publisher is looking for a better fourth quarter, helped by the early November release of Unwoke by Ted Cruz, which has sold over 22,000 copies at outlets that report to Circana BookScan.