Nah...I will take the buybacks. No taxes to pay on dividends. It just takes more patience to realize the gain. Besides they are clearly optimistic about their shares and would rather keep them lower to buy them up at a better price. In due time this comes back to us.
On another note, I am a physician. Aetna is gonna do great. They are well run and the hospitals they are negotiating with are bloated basket cases. Aetna has been successfully negotiating lower rates. In the next 10 years you will see a ton of hospital bankruptcies. In the aftermath, you will see hospitals negotiate lower rates with supply companies who currently have huge margins. These savings will get passed to Aetna.
Death to health insurance companies? Really? The subsidies that the Obama administration is paying to insurance buyers on the exchanges amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars. So where do you think ALL of that money is going to? Insurance companies. That is the point of the subsidy. It is a subsidy to BUY insurance. That means money goes to insurance companies. Yeah...death. Right.
Secondly, insurance companies will gain market share and take over the space that Medicare once held. The prices that hospitals and doctors charge health insurance companies is benchmarked to Medicare, keeping those costs high. As Medicare fades away, insurance companies are going to negotiate ruthlessly with hospitals, which are by and large not-for-profits with their heads in their behinds. It's going to be an utter bloodbath for hospitals and doctors, and insurance companies are going to mint money. Here is my prediction- In 10 years, Aetna, UNH, WellPoint will be of the same size as Chase, Wells Fargo, BofA.
John, good to have you back. Your insights are always appreciated. Whoever is buying is certainly convinced that LEE is undervalued. Granted, so am I, but it's not like I went off and bought 5-10% of the company. Or, as you mentioned, has a strong connection to LEE.
My other thought is that it may just be some bean counter at a fund who recognizes an undervalued asset. Land, holdings, rights, whatever. One thing that comes to mind is TownNews, which I know you know well. After all, it's network is massive, and according to their own releases, they are the 4th or 5th largest network in the nation behind Facebook, Google, MSN, Amazon. Now, they don't own the content on the hosted sites, so that massive network may not be able to be monetized even one cent. I know you had dealings with TN with your paper. Any chance it is undervalued?
Uh...yeah. Yikes....I knew it was someone big, but they are just going for it now. I presume we will see a release by the end of the week saying who it is and what % they now have. I don't see any news though unless an outright buyout. No way someone would inside trade a refi by buying 5-10% of a small-cap company. If you do that you might as well sit by your desk and wait for the SEC to call.
That is what I cannot figure out. This does not look like mass-driven movement. It has just been too constant and bullet-proof to days when the rest of the market was down. They waited out a couple of soft points in the 1.60s and 1.70s, then at 2.00, and the train keeps rolling. They don't give an F and are just buy buy buying.
Seriously...don't hold your breath. Someone is buying at exactly 2.00. We ain't gonna see much of anything interesting until earnings. I'm gonna say it stays from 1.95 to 2.05 till then.
Someone is clearly buying and their target looks like 2.00. They will buy everything below that and let everything above 2.00 fall back into their laps. This stock is gonna stay like this until 'they' decide to get out. This reminds me too much of last year when the mother just refused to go below 1.12. Someone BIG is buying a lot.
Someone has clearly been accumulating shares. This thing should have sank to the 1.40s, but has stayed exactly in a narrow range for weeks, even on days with microscopic buying. Someone clearly is setting buy orders at fixed prices and scooping everything up that comes to him. It's not Buffet, but someone is accumulating.
I would Post the link but Yahoo blocks links. go to the website for town news. Go to news. Go to archives. Go to the story about the elections.
TownNews is a huge hosting service. Only Google, YouTube and Facebook are more trafficked. Of course, they only host the individual sites and don't own them. How much do we think TownNews is worth?
How is Lee doing with smart phone and tablet integration?
--They are doing very well. Lee went "mobile first" in early 2011. All news is collected with a mind to be placed on a mobile platform first. 20% of all of their pageviews come from mobile and pageviews are growing at 10% per month. This will be interesting to follow. Mobile ads pay even less than desktop ads, and even those pay a fraction of what print does. However, mobile boxes out the ad syndicates, meaning that pricing power may improve someday. Also, by moving to paywalls but leaving the mobile sites largely free, Lee has pushed people into mobile. (which was gonna happen anyways).
Running Google programs for customers?
--Yes. This is far better than the previous yahoo consortium, which offers the customer far less tracking ability.
--Yes. Lee offers classes in nearly all of its local areas on digital advertising, and sets up pages and independent websites for customers. See Lee's LeeLocal services website. This is one thing that Lee definitely does VERY well. Lee's TownNews subsidiary brings in about 30M per year but runs the websites for about 1600 small newspapers and information websites around the country. Btw...this is a very good asset that Lee has tucked away. Lee manages much of the advertising done through TownNews papers. Over 100 million people per month log onto a TownNews site. In the US, only Facebook, Google and Youtube are larger than the TownNews syndicate. If Lee is ever liquidated, this will go for top dollar.
Doing online search, display and RTM programs?
--Yes. See above.
What is the company doing to re-capture the lost classified and preprint revenue from the past 5 years?
--Price competition. It is now cheaper to post a real estate ad in St. Louis in the Post Dispatch than it is to do so on Craigslist. Classifieds are declining overall but the digital picture is brightening.
No no Hawk, I am with you.
One thing is clear- Lee's OCF will be stable this year and almost certainly rise. Here is one way I look at things- 40% of Lee's revenue consists of Digital Advertising + Circulation + TownNews/Digital Services + Commercial Printing. This 40% is certain to rise in the next year. The other 60% is print advertising which we can assume will fall at about 5-7%, or about 26M. Lee is projecting cost-cuts of about 4%, saving about 22M dollars. This leaves a shortfall of about 4M dollars from OCF. This will be easily covered and more by gains in Digital, Circulation et al. Looking at FCF, this is to say nothing of improvements in FCF from disbursements in equity from Lee's Madison/Tucson papers and improvements in their debt balance. Hardly a banner year, but very stable. Even the LIBOR is not so big a boogey-man considering it will be probably be flat for some time to come, and even a very large rise of 2-4% would be handled well enough.
Sorry for being late but better late than never.
I see circs being about 48M from price increases and paywalls, but weighed down by subscriber loss. I see big ups in other revenue to 9-10M based upon Buffett using TownNews as the platform for his papers. Printing will also be up.
Circs + Other = 60M
I see advertising still trending down. Classifieds will fall by about 6%. A softer fall, since Craigslist is now raising prices in St. Louis for its employment ads, and is now more expensive to post on than the PD.
We shall continue to see relentless falls in national and retail. Total Ad revenue I expect to see at 130M.
Total revenues will be about 190-193M. This is factoring in for the NCT which was sold.
Operating expenses will be down sharply to 138-140M.
Operating Cash flow 50-53M
Available for debt retirement: 35-38M
Bud, revenue is dropping at only 4% a year and the debt is secured till late 2015. And this stock is at a low point. Assuming you are correct, will you be able to stomach a ride to 1.50 or 1.80? And what if they get bought at 2.50? They just sold a paper at 17x FCF which would be over 5.00 per share company-wide.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
And good lord I have stayed around. If this ever booms, we'll have to catch a drink in Vegas
Ha! No! But you would think...i am a shameless booster of this company. I really need guys around like deadcat to keep my feet on the ground
Sorry...that was my fat finger that meant to up vote you and accidently did the opposite. So sorry! UPVOTE UPVOTE! Yes...I agree. The multiple is key here. Ain't NO WAY they'll get the number that Lee got for the NC Times. That was a fluke selling to Manchester, who is a psychopath and wanted that paper for eternity.
I don't think the data will ever look good for Lee. On the other hand I am deep into Lee. I am banking on monetization of digital assets. I am looking at paywalls to bring in 10-15M this year and TownNews to keep growing fast. Will it all cover the 30M losses in print ads? Who knows. That is the implicit gamble.