Waiting for Liberty Global to Get Its Due

What's the difference between being patient and stubborn? If you end up making money, you were patient. If you end up losing money or underperforming, maybe you were just stubborn. For some reason, that advice comes to mind when I look at Liberty Global (Nasdaq: LBTYA  ) (Nasdaq: LBTYK  ) and the combination of its valuation and performance.

Growth continues for this diversified overseas cable services provider, but nobody seems to care. Revenue rose 46% this quarter (up about 11% on a currency-adjusted basis), operating cash flow grew 54% (17% adjusted), and management lifted guidance. What's more, the company saw good growth in organic net RGU (Revenue Generating Unit) additions, and it continues to make progress in signing up customers for additional services. That's the Holy Grail for all cable companies, from Liberty Global to Cablevision (NYSE: CVC  ) to Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation Time Warner (NYSE: TWX  ) .

The company also continues to be a fairly savvy steward of its properties. The overarching idea is to get good share in growing/valuable markets and sell assets in less-promising regions. That said, the company isn't willing to pay just any price -- it let two Dutch cable assets go to another bidder when it wasn't willing to overpay.

I frankly find the company's valuation a bit of a mystery. Apparently, so does management -- not only did it launch a $500 million tender offer earlier in the year, but it also just announced an additional $1 billion modified Dutch tender offer. In fact, if you compare the valuation of Liberty Global today with what private-market valuations were in those recent Dutch deals, the stock may be as much as 40% undervalued.

Now, it's not Foolish to say that something is cheap just because other people are willing to overpay on similar assets. That said, when I look at Liberty Global in isolation, considering its cash flow generation and likely continued growth in the coming years, I certainly see some value here. How long it will take for the Street to appreciate it, I cannot say, but I'm willing to be patient. and maybe even a little stubborn.

For more Foolish thoughts on the media:

Time Warner is a Stock Advisor selection. For more superstar picks from Tom and David Gardner, try a subscription on for size,free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).


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