Tribune Tribute

10/17/2003 12:00 am EST

Focus:

Charles Carlson

Editor, DRIP Investor

"Despite its seventh game loss to the Florida Marlins, 2003 was an exciting year for the Chicago Cubs; and if you're a fan, you can own a piece of the team," says Chuck Carlson, editor of The DRIP Investor, which recommends the team's parent company, Tribune. We note that the Cubs is just one reason Carlson is a fan of the media firm. Here's his review.

"For those of you with Cub fever, you might be surprised to know that there's a way for you or your kids or your grandkids to own a piece of the team. The Chicago Cubs are owned by the Tribune Company (TRB NYSE), a publicly traded company. Tribune makes the bulk of its money from its vast publishing business. The company is the publisher of several newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Newsday . The company also has a vast broadcasting business, including 26 major-market television stations.

"In fact, Tribune has one of the largest footprints of any media company in the country. Tribune's publishing and broadcasting operations reach more than 80% of US households, and the company is the only media concern with television stations, newspapers, and Web sites in the nation's top three markets. That type of broad industry leadership has made these shares a favorite on Wall Street over the years. Indeed, the stock has historically performed well, and I suspect these shares will show nice gains over the next 12 months. Profits should improve as a result of a stronger economy, which will boost advertising demand.

"Tribune is rarely a cheap stock. However, for investors who don't own a media stock, these shares would be a solid choice. What makes Tribune especially attractive for small investors is that the company offers a direct-purchase plan whereby any investor may buy stock directly from the company, without a broker. Minimum initial investment is just $500. Tribune will waive that minimum if an investor agrees to automatic monthly investment via electronic debit of a bank account of at least $50 per month. There are relatively modest fees in the plan, including an enrollment fee and per-purchase fees. The direct-purchase plan offers a great way for any investor--young or old--to own a piece of the company, even if you have only a relatively small amount of money to invest."

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