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Hoang Quoc Anh
Hoang Quoc Anh
Articles (281)  | Author's Website |

This Media Giant Is Quite Undervalued Now

Among its peers, Comcast has the lowest valuation and the lowest leverage. Moreover, it has a history of returning cash to shareholders

April 04, 2018 | About:

Since the begining of 2018, shares of Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) have fallen significantly, from $42 per share to $34 per share at the time of writing.

The reason for the decline is the company entered a bidding war to acquire pay-TV company Sky, offering 22.1 billion pounds ($31 billion), or 12.50 pounds per share. The offer is higher than Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.'s (FOXA) bid of 10.75 pounds per share.

Compared with its peers, Comcast appears to be quite undervalued. With a $159 billion market cap, the market values Comcast at only 7.7 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, a common valuation measure for media and cable enterprises. Both Twenty-First Century Fox and Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) have much higher EBITDA valuations at 12.9 times and 10.35 times respectively. Even Sky, its acquisition target, captured a 13 times valuation.

Comcast seems to have lower financial risks than its peers due to lower leverage. Charter Communications has the highest debt level at 4.8 times debt-to-EBITDA. Twenty-First Century Fox is a bit lower at 3 times debt-to-EBITDA. Comcast’s leverage ratio is only at 2.25 times. If the company successfully acquires Sky, however, its leverage will be higher.

In 2017, Comcast generated $10.1 billion in free cash flow. If it uses all of its cash flow to acquire Sky, it will have to borrow $20.9 billion more. As of December 2017, Sky had $12.9 billion in debt and $3.84 billion in cash. If the deal goes through, Comcast’s EBITDA will be $31 billion while its debt will be $98.4 billion, including the leverage used for the acquisition. Thus, its debt-to-EBITDA ratio will be approximately 3.17 times, which is still reasonable.

In Billions (USD)

Sky

Comcast

Combined (including acquisition leverage)

Debt

$12.90

$64.56

$98.36

Cash

$3.84

$3.43

$7.27

EBITDA

$3.00

$28.00

$31.00

Debt/EBITDA (times)

4.30

2.31

3.17

Comcast has two main business segments: Cable Communications and NBCUniversal. In 2017, the Cable Communications segment generated $21.2 billion in EBITDA. If this segment has a similar valuation to Charter Communications, at the current price, investors would basically get NBCUniversal for free. At 10 times EBITDA, NBCUniversal alone could be worth more than $82 billion.

As it is able to generate stong cash flow, Comcast frequently returns cash to shareholders through buybacks and dividends. Its current dividend yield is 2.2%. The company consistently increases the dividend by 21% and is expected to repurchase as much as $5 billion worth of shares in 2018. This buyback would add an additional 3.2% return to shareholders, bringing the total yeild to 5.4%.

With the lowest EBITDA valuation and lowest leverage among its peers, Comcast is a good investment opportunity currently. Investors will also benefit from a decent cash return.

About the author:

Hoang Quoc Anh
Chief investment strategist for the Global Hidden Gems Portfolio (https://ghginvest.com). Searching around the world for stocks that trade below net cash but are still profitable.

Visit Hoang Quoc Anh's Website


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