Owning News Corp. For Its New Media Property -- DirecTV (NWS, DTV)

Includes: NWS, T
by: John Bethel

Yesterday's post on DirecTV Group (DTV) drew a comment from Ashish Kelkar, author of the Show Me The Money blog:

Rather than owning Direct TV wouldn't it be better to own the parent News Corp (NASDAQ:NWS)? Their politics aside, it's a great conglomerate with newspapers, book publishing, satellite broadcasting, movie studios, TV channels and now lately the forays into the web space (MySpace acquisition). It seems to me that here is a company perfectly positioned to take advantage of the intersection of the old media and new digital revolution.

I believe Direct TV will be a major piece of this revolution, probably acting as their access play for internet access.

Ashish may be right. I may indeed be making a mistake not buying News Corp. stock. I've stated so previously. My view is that even if I did buy News Corp., I'd still have full positions in DirecTV and Liberty Media (NYSE:L). DirecTV is a pure play on satellite broadcasting. Liberty Media has some excellent assets including a significant stake in News Corp. So the portfolio has exposure to News Corp. through Liberty, though admittedly not as much as it would have with News Corp. being a full position of its own.

I would normally have left all this in the comments section of yesterday's post. But then I see that today's "Heard on the Street" column by Gregory Zuckerman in The Wall Street Journal is about News Corp. being undervalued. It's an excellent article and also mentions portfolio holdings DirecTV and CBS (NYSE:CBS).

But I noticed something. Two analysts are quoted as having "buy" ratings on News Corp. -- Aryeh Bourkoff of UBS Investment Research and Michael Nathanson of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. -- yet neither owns any of the stock. (UBS has done investment banking with the company in the past.) That reminded of one of the reasons I started this blog. I was tired of reading and seeing analysts and talking heads recommending buying a certain stock and then admitting they didn't own it. Making their recommendation a case of "do as I say, not as I do."

Well, let's not get sidetracked. News Corp. is undervalued and the Zuckerman piece gives ammunition to Ashish's point. I'm content with the portfolio's current media related holdings. But if it's decided to add yet another you'll read it here.

NWS 1-yr chart:

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