Shares in Cablevision (CVC) and The New York Times (NYT) are both off about 3% today. Cablevision’s shares are down because its large shareholders don’t want the company sold. The Times is down because its large shareholders do want a sale.
Mario Gabelli and other large stockholders in Cablevision are in the process of scuttling a deal by the founding Dolan family to take the company private. Gabelli argues that the company is worth $50 a share. The stock trades at under $33 today.
So, is Cablevision worth a 50% premium over its current price? Not if you ask the public holders of Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWC). Over the last three months, shares in those companies are down about 15%. The market is concerned that fiber-to-the-home products from Verizon (VZ) could start to take away cable TV and broadband customers.
Over at The New York Times, large institutional investors are begging for a sale. Hassan Elmasry, the portfolio manager with Morgan Stanley Investments, who owned about 10 million shares, dumped most of those today. He got sick of waiting for management at the big newspaper company to do something to get the share price up.
The Dolans have billions of dollars lined up to buy Cablevision, but it looks like they won’t need the money. Unless, of course, they can convince the Sulzbergers to sell them The New York Times.
Douglas A. McIntyre