TV brethren rewarded for selling out


Should radio companies be emulating TV companies and get out while the getting is good? TV stocks have been outperforming radio stocks, but it seems that the way for a television company to impress Wall Street appears to be to put itself up for sale. Through the first half of 2007, the top performing TV stocks were Ion, Nexstar and LIN, none of which expect to be around as public companies by the end of this year.

A dozen of the stocks tracked daily by RBR's sister publication TVBR are up double digits or better year-to-date. Ion Media Networks, in fact, is up a whopping 188%. Citadel Capital has already cashed out most former shareholders and an extended tender to sweep of the remainder will end in a few days. Nexstar battled back from penny stock territory and then jumped dramatically when it hung out the "for sale" sign, giving its stock price a gain of over 182% for the first half of 2007. LIN Television is also on the auction block, with its stock up 89% for the six-month period.

Of TV companies that plan to continue operating under their current ownership, Sinclair was the winner, up over 35% as investors applauded its deals for retransmission consent payments. Young Broadcasting, which remains in penny stock territory, was up just shy of 31% YTD. Entravision, which is in radio as well, rose nearly 27% as the biggest player remaining in the fast-growing Hispanic media sector after Univision was taken private.