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Sydnee Gatewood
Sydnee Gatewood
Articles (3340) 

Longleaf Partners Comments on Lumen

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January 19, 2021 | About:
Lumen (NYSE:LUMN) (-19%, -2.71%; -1%, -0.12%), the fiber telecom company formerly named CenturyLink, was a top detractor for the year and the only (slight) detractor in the fourth quarter. During the last quarter, Enterprise fiber revenues grew 0.8% year-over-year, International and Global declined 2.6% and Small and Medium Business (SMB) shrunk 5.8% due to COVID repercussions. Yet margins slightly increased due to the strong cost controls of CEO Jeff Storey and CFO Neel Dev. Despite significant deleveraging over the last two years and multiple debt issuances this year at low to mid-single digit interest rates, the stock trades at an incredibly low multiple of <5x FCF. We believe Lumen can grow by continuing to invest into fiber, which should outweigh its declining legacy copper landline business. Numerous recent large transactions for fiber peers at double-digit EBITDA multiples and landline peers at mid-single digit EBITDA multiples also suggest that Lumen could monetize several of its segments at good prices well beyond its total market capitalization today. We have stepped up our engagement with the company and signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) last month, so unfortunately we cannot say more other than "stay tuned."

From Mason Hawkins (Trades, Portfolio)' Longleaf Partners Fund fourth-quarter 2020 commentary.

About the author:

Sydnee Gatewood
I am the editorial director at GuruFocus. I have a BA in journalism and a MA in mass communications from Texas Tech University. I have lived in Texas most of my life, but also have roots in New Mexico and Colorado. Follow me on Twitter! @gurusydneerg

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