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Gannett Reports Third Quarter 2017 Results of Operations

MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) ("Gannett" or "company" or "we") today reported third quarter 2017 financial results for the period ended September 24, 2017.

“We recently completed the roll out of our digital marketing capabilities to the former Journal Media Group properties, and we are now focused on leveraging Gannett's broad local footprint to drive market share growth of our strong digital solutions.”

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“Throughout the quarter, we enhanced audience growth and engagement, expanded our marketing services capabilities and added new offerings to our portfolio,” said Robert J. Dickey, president and chief executive officer. “Specifically, we reached record audiences via our USA TODAY NETWORK, completed the migration of remaining properties to the ReachLocal digital marketing platform, and announced a majority investment in Grateful Ventures which provides us with an increased presence in attractive lifestyle categories.”

Mr. Dickey continued, “We delivered strong year-over-year earnings growth in the third quarter, despite challenging print advertising trends. Profitability gains were driven by improved digital performance, most notably at ReachLocal, as well as the continued realization of synergies from our 2016 local market acquisitions and other cost saving initiatives.”

Third Quarter 2017 Consolidated Results

Third quarter operating revenues were $744.3 million, including a $1.4 million negative impact from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, compared to $772.3 million in the prior year quarter. There was no material impact on revenues related to currency changes in the quarter. The year-over-year performance reflected lower print advertising and circulation revenues offset partially by higher digital advertising revenues and the contribution from acquired operations (1). On a same store basis, operating revenues in the third quarter declined 9.4% (or 10.2% when excluding $6.7 million related to the 2016 third quarter revaluation of acquired deferred revenue), an improvement compared to a decline in the 2017 second quarter of 10.6%, as a result of digital revenue growth. Total digital revenues in the third quarter increased to $245.0 million, or approximately 33% of total revenue, including the contribution from ReachLocal which was acquired in August 2016.

GAAP net income for the third quarter was $23.0 million, including a $20.1 million tax benefit offset partially by $15.4 million of after-tax severance, acquisition, asset impairment, facility consolidation and other costs; approximately $10.3 million of these charges were non-cash. Adjusted EBITDA (2) for the third quarter increased 27.3% to $73.9 million compared to $58.0 million in the prior year quarter with a 240 basis point margin improvement year-over-year, which includes the favorable comparison related to the aforementioned deferred revenue revaluation.

Publishing Segment

Publishing segment operating revenues in the third quarter were $660.3 million compared to $736.6 million in the prior year quarter. On a same store basis, publishing segment operating revenues in the third quarter declined 11.0% year-over-year. Same store print advertising revenues in the third quarter declined 18.7% year-over-year versus a 16.8% decline in the 2017 second quarter. Same store circulation revenues fell 7.6% from the prior year quarter compared to a 7.4% decline in the 2017 second quarter. Digital-only subscriber volumes grew 60% year-over-year and now total approximately 312,000 subscribers.

Digital advertising revenues in the third quarter increased 4.1% to $102.9 million compared to the prior year quarter. On a same store basis, digital revenues increased 3.7% with growth in areas such as mobile, audience extension, digital marketing services and branded content.

Publishing segment adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $87.5 million compared to $86.4 million in the prior year third quarter reflecting continued operational efficiencies.

ReachLocal Segment

Operating revenues for the third quarter were $93.8 million, a 9% increase on a sequential basis versus the 2017 second quarter. The increase was attributable to continued strong growth in North America and the continued migration of Gannett clients onto the ReachLocal platform.

Adjusted EBITDA was $5.2 million in the 2017 third quarter, representing a 5.6% margin, a significant improvement from the 1.4% margin in the 2017 second quarter. Improved profitability in the quarter was driven by the further scaling of Gannett related revenue on the ReachLocal platform and an increase in the number of products per client in North America that is driving budget growth.

“We reached the one-year mark since being acquired by Gannett in August 2016, and we’re excited by the momentum in the business,” said Sharon Rowlands, chief executive officer of ReachLocal. “We recently completed the roll out of our digital marketing capabilities to the former Journal Media Group properties, and we are now focused on leveraging Gannett's broad local footprint to drive market share growth of our strong digital solutions."

Cash Flow

Net cash flow from operating activities for the third quarter was approximately $34.1 million compared to $24.6 million in the prior year quarter. Capital expenditures in the third quarter were approximately $17.1 million, primarily for technology investments and maintenance projects. During the third quarter, the company paid dividends of $18.1 million and repurchased two million shares of its outstanding common stock for $17.4 million.

At the end of the third quarter, the company had a cash balance of $110.0 million and a balance on its revolving line of credit of $375.0 million, or net debt of $265.0 million.

Outlook

The company reiterates its prior revenue guidance for 2017 of $3.15 to $3.22 billion and its Adjusted EBITDA guidance for 2017 for $360 to $365 million.

Additionally, for the full year 2017, the company expects the following:

  • Capital expenditures of approximately $60 to $65 million, not including real estate projects;
  • Depreciation and amortization of approximately $145 to $150 million, not including accelerated depreciation; and
  • An effective tax rate of 30% to 32%, on a non-GAAP basis.
1 Acquired businesses in the last twelve months include North Jersey Media Group ("NJMG") (part of the Publishing segment), as well as ReachLocal, Inc. ("ReachLocal") and SweetIQ Analytics Corp. ("SweetIQ") (both part of the ReachLocal segment).
2 The company defines adjusted EBITDA as earnings before income taxes, equity income, other non-operating items (which include interest income and interest expense, among other items), severance-related charges, asset impairment charges, depreciation and amortization. Because of the variability of these and other items as well as the impact of future events on these items, management is unable to reconcile without unreasonable effort the company's forecasted range of adjusted EBITDA for the full year to a comparable GAAP range.

* * * *

Conference Call Information

The company will hold a conference call at 10:00 a.m. ET today to discuss its third quarter results. The call can be accessed via a live webcast through the company's investor site, http://investors.gannett.com/, or listen-only conference lines. U.S. callers should dial 855-462-1958 and international callers should dial 503-343-6635 at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the call. The confirmation code for the conference call is 1909911.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements regarding business strategies, market potential, future financial performance and other matters. Forward-looking statements include all statements that are not historical facts. The words “believe,” “expect,” “estimate,” “could,” “should,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “seek,” “anticipate,” “project” and similar expressions, among others, generally identify forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date the statements were made and are not guarantees of future performance. Where, in any forward-looking statement, an expectation or belief as to future results or events is expressed, such expectation or belief is based on the current plans and expectations of our management and expressed in good faith and believed to have a reasonable basis, but there can be no assurance that the expectation or belief will result or be achieved or accomplished. Whether or not any such forward-looking statements are in fact achieved will depend on future events, some of which are beyond our control.

The matters discussed in these forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, trends, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected, anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements. These factors include, among other things:

  • macroeconomic trends and conditions;
  • an accelerated decline in general print readership and/or advertiser patterns as a result of competitive alternative media or other factors;
  • an inability to adapt to technological changes or grow our digital businesses;
  • risks associated with the operation of an increasingly digital business, such as rapid technological changes, frequent new product introductions, declines in web traffic levels, technical failures and proliferation of ad blocking technologies;
  • competitive pressures in the markets in which we operate;
  • an increase in newsprint costs over the levels anticipated;
  • potential disruption or interruption of our IT systems due to accidents, extraordinary weather events, civil unrest, political events, terrorism or cyber security attacks;
  • variability in the exchange rate relative to the U.S. dollar of currencies in foreign jurisdictions in which we operate;
  • risks and uncertainties related to strategic acquisitions or investments, including distraction of management attention, incurrence of additional debt, integration challenges, and failure to realize expected benefits or synergies or to operate businesses effectively following acquisitions;
  • risks and uncertainties associated with our ReachLocal segment, including its significant reliance on Google for media purchases, its international operations and its ability to develop and gain market acceptance for new products or services;
  • our ability to protect our intellectual property or defend successfully against infringement claims;
  • our ability to attract and retain employees;
  • labor relations, including, but not limited to, labor disputes which may cause business interruptions, revenue declines or increased labor costs;
  • risks associated with our underfunded pension plans;
  • adverse outcomes in litigation or proceedings with governmental authorities or administrative agencies, or changes in the regulatory environment, any of which could encumber or impede our efforts to improve operating results or the value of assets;
  • volatility in financial and credit markets which could affect the value of retirement plan assets and our ability to raise funds through debt or equity issuances and otherwise affect our ability to access the credit and capital markets at the times and in the amounts needed and on acceptable terms; and
  • other uncertainties relating to general economic, political, business, industry, regulatory and market conditions.

A further description of these and other important risks, trends, uncertainties and other factors is provided in the company’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including the company’s annual report on Form 10-K for fiscal year 2016. Any forward-looking statements should be evaluated in light of these important risk factors. The company is not responsible for updating or revising any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This press release also contains a discussion of certain non-GAAP financial measures that the company presents to allow investors and analysts to measure, analyze and compare its financial condition and results of operations in a meaningful and consistent manner. A reconciliation of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measures can be found in the tables accompanying this press release.

About Gannett

Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) is a next-generation media company committed to strengthening communities across our network. Through trusted, compelling content and unmatched local-to-national reach, Gannett touches the lives of more than 110 million people monthly. With more than 120 markets internationally, it is known for Pulitzer Prize-winning newsrooms, powerhouse brands such as USA TODAY and specialized media properties. To connect with us, visit www.gannett.com.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME (LOSS)

Gannett Co., Inc. and Subsidiaries

Unaudited, in thousands (except per share amounts)

Table No. 1
Three months ended Nine months ended

September 24,
2017

September 25,
2016

September 24,
2017

September 25,
2016

Operating revenues:

Advertising $ 420,793 $ 429,053 $ 1,301,522 $ 1,190,108
Circulation 264,413 285,583 821,375 835,872
Other 59,068 57,685 169,341 154,500
Total operating revenues 744,274 772,321 2,292,238 2,180,480
Operating expenses:
Cost of sales and operating expenses 476,526 516,236 1,470,558 1,419,016
Selling, general and administrative expenses 203,995 217,609 627,113 586,100
Depreciation 41,128 30,638 124,260 83,889
Amortization 8,658 5,003 24,193 7,961
Facility consolidation and asset impairment charges 2,189 28,673 22,799 33,160
Total operating expenses 732,496 798,159 2,268,923 2,130,126
Operating income (loss) 11,778 (25,838 ) 23,315 50,354
Non-operating expenses:
Interest expense (4,613 ) (3,652 ) (12,322 ) (8,509 )
Other non-operating items, net (922 ) (3,694 ) (10,110 ) (9,572 )
Total non-operating expenses (5,535 ) (7,346 ) (22,432 ) (18,081 )
Income (loss) before income taxes 6,243 (33,184 ) 883 32,273
Provision (benefit) for income taxes ** (16,801 ) (9,223 ) (19,595 ) 4,157
Net income (loss) $ 23,044 $ (23,961 ) $ 20,478 $ 28,116
Earnings (loss) per share - basic $ 0.20 $ (0.21 ) $ 0.18 $ 0.24
Earnings (loss) per share - diluted $ 0.20 $ (0.21 ) $ 0.18 $ 0.24
Weighted average number of common shares outstanding:
Basic 113,253 116,556 113,467 116,461
Diluted 115,774 116,556 115,655 119,149
* The company early adopted Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") guidance requiring changes to the presentation of net periodic pension and other postretirement benefit costs. Specifically, this guidance requires entities to classify the service cost component of the net benefit cost in the same income statement line item as other employee compensation costs while all other components of net benefit cost must be presented as non-operating items. The guidance further requires such classification changes to be retrospectively applied beginning in the interim period in which the guidance is adopted. As a result of adopting this guidance, in the third quarter of 2016 and the first nine months of 2016, operating income and other non-operating expenses increased $2.8 million and $7.5 million, respectively. Net income, retained earnings, and earnings per share remained unchanged.
** The benefit for income taxes for the third quarter and first nine months of 2017 includes a net benefit of $20.1 million related to a worthless stock and debt deduction for one of our ReachLocal international subsidiaries.
SEGMENT INFORMATION

Gannett Co., Inc. and Subsidiaries

Unaudited, in thousands

Table No. 2
Three months ended Nine months ended

September 24,
2017

September 25,
2016

September 24,
2017

September 25,
2016

Operating revenues:
Publishing $ 660,338 $ 736,570 $ 2,047,442 $ 2,142,621
ReachLocal 93,817 34,977 257,308 34,977
Corporate and Other 1,338 774 3,347 2,882
Intersegment eliminations (11,219 ) (15,859 )
Total $ 744,274 $ 772,321 $ 2,292,238 $ 2,180,480
Adjusted EBITDA:
Publishing $ 87,451 $ 86,371 $ 283,235 $ 298,161
ReachLocal 5,229 (6,744 ) 9,592 (6,744 )
Corporate and Other (18,827 ) (21,598 ) (65,639 ) (61,367 )
Total $ 73,853 $ 58,029 $ 227,188 $ 230,050
Depreciation and amortization:
Publishing $ 35,053 $ 27,766 $ 106,116 $ 76,519
ReachLocal 8,846 3,924 25,504 3,924
Corporate and Other 5,887 3,951 16,833 11,407
Total $ 49,786 $ 35,641 $ 148,453 $ 91,850
Capital expenditures:
Publishing $ 6,359 $ 13,424 $ 23,586 $ 25,089
ReachLocal 5,004 1,196 12,904 1,196
Corporate and Other 5,690 4,245 10,394 18,716
Total $ 17,053 $ 18,865 $ 46,884 $ 45,001
REVENUE DETAIL

Gannett Co., Inc. and Subsidiaries

Unaudited, in thousands

Table No. 3
Three months ended

September 24,
2017

September 25,
2016

% Change
Reported revenue $ 744,274 $ 772,321 (3.6 %)
Acquired revenue (44,942 )

***

Currency impact 491

***

Exited operations (93 ) (100 %)
Same store revenue $ 699,823 $ 772,228 (9.4 %)
Reported advertising revenue $ 420,793 $ 429,053 (1.9 %)
Acquired revenue (37,761 ) ***
Currency impact 313 ***
Same store advertising revenue $ 383,345 $ 429,053 (10.7 %)
Reported circulation revenue $ 264,413 $ 285,583 (7.4 %)
Acquired revenue (809 ) ***
Currency impact 138 ***
Same store circulation revenue $ 263,742 $ 285,583 (7.6 %)
Table No. 4
Three months ended

September 24,
2017

September 25,
2016

% Change
Publishing revenue detail
Print advertising $ 244,843 $ 298,434 (18.0 %)
Digital advertising:
External sales 92,959 98,780 (5.9 %)
Intersegment sales 9,904 ***
Total digital advertising 102,863 98,780 4.1 %
Total advertising 347,706 397,214 (12.5 %)
Circulation 264,413 285,583 (7.4 %)
Other:
External sales 46,904 53,773 (12.8 %)
Intersegment sales 1,315 ***
Total other 48,219 53,773 (10.3 %)
Total Publishing revenue $ 660,338 $ 736,570 (10.3 %)

USE OF NON-GAAP INFORMATION

The company uses non-GAAP financial performance and liquidity measures to supplement the financial information presented on a GAAP basis. These non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered in isolation from or as a substitute for the related GAAP measures, and should be read together with financial information presented on a GAAP basis.

The company defines its non-GAAP measures as follows:

  • Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial performance measure that the company believes offers a useful view of the overall operation of our business. The company defines adjusted EBITDA, which may not be comparable to a similarly titled measure reported by other companies, as net income before (1) income taxes, (2) interest expense, (3) equity income, (4) other non-operating items, (5) severance-related charges, (6) acquisition-related expenses (including certain integration expenses), (7) facility consolidation and asset impairment charges, (8) other items (including certain business transformation costs, litigation expenses, multi-employer pension withdrawals and gains or losses on certain investments), (9) depreciation, and (10) amortization. The most directly comparable GAAP financial measure is net income.
  • Adjusted net income is a non-GAAP financial performance measure that the company uses for calculating adjusted earnings per share ("EPS"). Adjusted net income is defined as net income before the adjustments we apply in calculating adjusted EPS, as described below. We believe presenting adjusted net income is useful to enable investors to understand how we calculate adjusted EPS, which provides a useful view of the overall operation of the company's business. The most directly comparable GAAP financial measure is net income.
  • Adjusted diluted EPS is a non-GAAP financial performance measure that the company believes offers a useful view of the overall operation of our business. The company defines adjusted EPS, which may not be comparable to a similarly titled measure reported by other companies, as EPS before tax-effected (1) severance-related charges, (2) facility consolidation and asset impairment charges, (3) acquisition-related expenses (including certain integration expenses), and (4) other items (including certain business transformation expenses, litigation expenses, multi-employer pension withdrawals and gains or losses on certain investments). The tax impact on these non-GAAP tax deductible adjustments is based on the estimated statutory tax rates for the United Kingdom of 19.25% and the United States of 38.7%. In addition, tax is adjusted for the impact of non-deductible acquisition costs and a tax benefit related to a worthless stock and debt deduction. The most directly comparable GAAP financial measure is diluted EPS.
  • Free cash flow is a non-GAAP liquidity measure that adjusts our reported GAAP results for items that we believe are critical to the ongoing success of our business. The company defines free cash flow, which may not be comparable to a similarly titled measure reported by other companies, as cash flow from operating activities as reported on the statement of cash flows less capital expenditures, which results in a figure representing free cash flow available for use in operations, additional investments, debt obligations and returns to shareholders. The most directly comparable GAAP financial measure is net cash from operating activities.

The company uses non-GAAP financial measures for purposes of evaluating its performance and liquidity. Therefore, the company believes that each of the non-GAAP measures presented provides useful information to investors by allowing them to view our businesses through the eyes of our management and Board of Directors, facilitating comparison of results across historical periods, and providing a focus on the underlying ongoing operating performance of our business. Many of our peer group companies present similar non-GAAP measures to better facilitate industry comparisons.

NON-GAAP FINANCIAL INFORMATION
ADJUSTED EBITDA

Gannett Co., Inc. and Subsidiaries

Unaudited, in thousands

Table No. 5
Three months ended September 24, 2017
Publishing ReachLocal

Corporate and
Other

Consolidated
Total

Net income (GAAP basis) $ 23,044
Benefit for income taxes (16,801 )
Interest expense 4,613
Other non-operating items, net 922
Operating income (loss) (GAAP basis) $ 43,638 $ (4,207 ) $ (27,653 ) $ 11,778
Severance-related charges 5,421 191 (495 ) 5,117
Acquisition-related items 420 1,639 2,059
Facility consolidation and asset impairment charges 2,189 2,189
Other items 730 399 1,795 2,924
Depreciation 33,730 1,511 5,887 41,128
Amortization 1,323 7,335 8,658
Adjusted EBITDA (non-GAAP basis) $ 87,451 $ 5,229 $ (18,827 ) $ 73,853
Three months ended September 25, 2016
Publishing ReachLocal

Corporate and
Other

Consolidated
Total

Net (loss) (GAAP basis) $ (23,961 )
Benefit for income taxes (9,223 )
Interest expense 3,652
Other non-operating items, net 3,694
Operating income (loss) (GAAP basis) $ 25,221 $ (11,230 ) $ (39,829 ) $ (25,838 )
Severance-related charges 4,575 562 5,137
Acquisition-related items 136 14,280 14,416
Facility consolidation and asset impairment charges 28,673 28,673
Depreciation 25,926 761 3,951 30,638
Amortization 1,840 3,163 5,003
Adjusted EBITDA (non-GAAP basis) $ 86,371 $ (6,744 ) $ (21,598 ) $ 58,029
NON-GAAP FINANCIAL INFORMATION
ADJUSTED EBITDA

Gannett Co., Inc. and Subsidiaries

Unaudited, in thousands

Table No. 5 (continued)
Nine months ended September 24, 2017
Publishing ReachLocal

Corporate and
Other

Consolidated
Total

Net income (GAAP basis) $ 20,478
Benefit for income taxes (19,595 )
Interest expense 12,322
Other non-operating items, net 10,110
Operating income (loss) (GAAP basis) $ 139,363 $ (16,868 ) $ (99,180 ) $ 23,315
Severance-related charges 21,181 514 3,687 25,382
Acquisition-related items 331 43 4,278 4,652
Facility consolidation and asset impairment charges 22,799 22,799
Other items (6,555 ) 399 8,743 2,587
Depreciation 102,217 5,210 16,833 124,260
Amortization 3,899 20,294 24,193
Adjusted EBITDA (non-GAAP basis) $ 283,235 $ 9,592 $ (65,639 ) $ 227,188
Nine months ended September 25, 2016
Publishing ReachLocal

Corporate and
Other

Consolidated
Total

Net income (GAAP basis) $ 28,116
Provision for income taxes 4,157
Interest expense 8,509
Other non-operating items, net 9,572
Operating income (loss) (GAAP basis) $ 163,277 $ (11,230 ) $ (101,693 ) $ 50,354
Severance-related charges 26,269 562 26,831
Acquisition-related items 136 28,919 29,055
Facility consolidation and asset impairment charges 33,160 33,160
Other items (1,200 ) (1,200 )
Depreciation 71,721 761 11,407 83,889
Amortization 4,798 3,163 7,961
Adjusted EBITDA (non-GAAP basis) $ 298,161 $ (6,744 ) $ (61,367 ) $ 230,050
NON-GAAP FINANCIAL INFORMATION
ADJUSTED DILUTED EPS

Gannett Co., Inc. and Subsidiaries

Unaudited, in thousands (except per share amounts)

Table No. 6
Three months ended Nine months ended

September 24,
2017

September 25,
2016

September 24,
2017

September 25,
2016

Severance-related charges $ 5,117 $ 5,137 $ 25,382 $ 26,831
Acquisition-related items 2,059 14,416 4,652 29,055
Facility consolidation and asset impairment charges (including accelerated depreciation) 17,098 29,761 61,445 34,311
Other items 19 (3,179 ) (1,200 )
Pretax impact 24,293 49,314 88,300 88,997
Income tax impact of above items (8,863 ) (17,757 ) (33,295 ) (30,414 )
Tax benefit (20,086 ) (20,086 )
Impact of items affecting comparability on net income (loss) $ (4,656 ) $ 31,557 $ 34,919 $ 58,583
Net income (loss) (GAAP basis) $ 23,044 $ (23,961 ) $ 20,478 $ 28,116
Impact of items affecting comparability on net income (loss) (4,656 ) 31,557 34,919 58,583
Adjusted net income (non-GAAP basis) $ 18,388 $ 7,596 $ 55,397 $ 86,699
Earnings (loss) per share - diluted (GAAP basis) $ 0.20 $ (0.21 ) $ 0.18 $ 0.24
Impact of items affecting comparability on net income (loss) (0.04 ) 0.27 0.30 0.49
Adjusted earnings per share - diluted (non-GAAP basis) $ 0.16 $ 0.06 $ 0.48 $ 0.73
Diluted weighted average number of common shares outstanding (GAAP basis) 115,774 116,556 115,655 119,149
Diluted weighted average number of common shares outstanding (non-GAAP basis) 115,774 119,010 115,655 119,149
NON-GAAP FINANCIAL INFORMATION
FREE CASH FLOW

Gannett Co., Inc. and Subsidiaries

Unaudited, in thousands

Table No. 7

Three months ended
September 24, 2017

Nine months ended
September 24, 2017

Net cash flow from operating activities (GAAP basis) $ 34,147 $ 163,691
Capital expenditures (17,053 ) (46,884 )
Free cash flow (non-GAAP basis) $ 17,094 $ 116,807

Contacts

Gannett Co., Inc.
For investor inquiries, contact:
Stacy Cunningham
VP, Financial Planning & Analysis
703-854-3168
investors@gannett.com
or
Jonathan Schaffer
The Blueshirt Group
investors@gannett.com
or
For media inquiries, contact:
Amber Allman
Vice President, Corporate Events & Communications
703-854-5358
aallman@gannett.com


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