#1 New York Times Bestselling Author & TV Producer
Lee, this is a bit off-topic. As you know, from time to time, I look at CBS Corp to keep up-to-date on the corporate side of writing. And as I recently changed my mind about the company, I thought this might be a good moment to point out why, if anybody was following my comments.
As I said before, CBS Corp has stellar management and is making record amounts of money. Redstone and Moonves are as much great content-producers as they are astute businessmen. And in the 4th quarter ending Dec 31, 2012,these are some of the terrific highlights:
Fourth Quarter Revenue of $3.7 Billion, Up 2%
Fourth Quarter Adjusted OIBDA of $866 Million, Up 6%
Fourth Quarter Operating Income of $726 Million, Up 12%
Fourth Quarter Adjusted Diluted EPS of $.64, Up 14%; Diluted EPS of $.62, Up 19%
The results for 2012, the year, are record as well. In addition, they are making a fantastic move by selling and spinning off their billboard advertising business. The business is changing. Digital billboards are coming. Instead of having to invest heavily, they’re getting out at the right moment, and should receive about $4.5 billion, which is top dollar. They’ve pledged $1 billion of it to accelerate their share buy-back program. Also, the rumor on the Street is that they are shopping Simon & Shuster around. This would be another astute move as print sales are in a tailspin and they won’t be able to make as much money in digital sales. As a result of all these factors, the stock is surging on the big board. It’s trading at near $45 dollar a share levels. In 2009, it hit a low of under $5 dollars a share. It’s up almost 900% since then. So you’d think I’d be bullish on the stock, right?
Actually, it’s the opposite. The higher it goes, the higher the general market goes, and the Dow is at an all-time high, the more fearful I become. We’re four years into the current business cycle and they don’t last forever. So I currently own no shares in CBS, I’m in cash and waiting for the next pull-back, the next recession. Lots of analysts disagree. They say the stock will cross $50 during the summer and this may be true. But I’m not comfortable with it. The party can’t last forever.
Anyway, the management deserves to be well-rewarded. They keep finding ways to make more and more money off their content.