FCC Targets

06/06/2003 12:00 am EST

Focus:

Neil George

Editor-in-Chief, Income Publication and Products, Agora Financial

"The blueprint for the new FCC rules was drawn by Vic Miller, one of Bear Stearns’ top media guys," notes Neil George, editor of bygeorgenewsletter.com. "As Wall Street's representative, it's easy to guess which side of this issue he advocated to Powell and the FCC board. And coincidentally enough, Bear Stearns is now in the catbird's seat; no other firm will be on the same footing in terms of knowing the ins and outs of the FCC, and what it will and won't approve in terms of merger and acquisition deals."

"Vic's list of top media buys starts with Gray Television (GTN NYSE)), a regional television station owner and operator in the middle of the US from the Gulf up to the Great Lakes with CBS and NBC feeds. The company also has some newspapers in select local markets, as well as some wireless communications businesses. Right now, it's trading at two times book and a tad above three times trailing revenues--but if Vic's the man for the FCC, Gray TV is certain to be a candidate for a deal.

"Another of his picks is one of my ongoing favorites, Belo Corp. (BLC NYSE). Belo is similar to Gray, it also owns a collection of local broadcasting and print media companies in core markets throughout key areas around the US. Belo is even cheaper than Gray, trading at only 1.8 times book and a relatively paltry 1.8 times trailing revenue. It also pays a dividend that exceeds 1.2%, meaning you can afford to be patient for a deal.

"Finally, another of Vic's picks in the industry is Emmis Communications (EMMS NASDAQ). Emmis is headquartered in Indianapolis and owns and runs a similar collection of media from radio to television and even a handful of magazines. Its core holdings are in top-tier markets like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. It's also relatively less expensive, at about 1.6 times book, but about two times trailing sales."

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