When investors consider which companies belong in their portfolios, a stock's price per share should not be a primary factor. A small price tag has little real bearing on whether a stock is actually a good value. What more often indicates whether a stock may be a deal are the ratios of share price to the actual business's metrics -- earnings, sales, cash flow, etc.
Nor does share price alone say much about the size of the company -- a high-market-cap company can trade at a low price if the share float (the total number of shares in circulation) is large. Most important for investors, if a company's shares have declined in value, they may have done so for good reason.
All that being said, when a quality company combines compelling value with a low share price, the long-term returns for investors can be stellar. Here are two solid examples of stocks currently trading under $10 or around $10 per share that have the potential to run much higher.
iHeartMedia (NASDAQ:IHRT) is a radio broadcasting and audio streaming company with growing exposure to podcasting. The most popular (and expensive) play in the space is Spotify Technology (NYSE:SPOT), which recently signed pricey podcasting contracts with Kim Kardashian and Joe Rogan. Spotify's shares responded positively to the news, racing to new highs while iHeartMedia shares have stayed put. This suggests there is an opportunity in podcasting, and iHeartMedia personalities like actor and comedian Will Ferrell as well as popular podcasts such as Stuff You Should Know provide CEO Bob Pitman and his company with the means to compete in this trendy audio segment.
For the streaming audio industry as a whole, podcasting revenues are expected to grow at an annual rate of roughly 30%, far faster than other traditional media like AM/FM radio or cable. At iHeartMedia specifically, podcasting revenue leaped by 80% year over year just this past quarter. Digital ad sales (predominately from podcasting) now account for close to 12% of the company's overall sales, and as this segment continues to mature, that percentage should grow.
iHeartMedia also recently debuted its AdSuite Insights program to offer real-time data on marketing and content performance among its audiences. Now the company has a bird's eye view of what's working and can act accordingly. In addition, its Storytellers tool allows podcasters to integrate ads directly into their episodes. This limited-interruption model (compared to traditional commercials) reduces audience churn.
According to a recently completed Nielsen Catalina study, every advertising dollar spent on audio marketing yields a return 12 times higher than traditional cable promotions. Pitman is clearly targeting his company's investments in its advertising capabilities to boost that lead.
With iHeartMedia assets now reaching 90% of Americans every month, its reach is immense and unmatched. Its 250 million monthly active listeners equip it with the largest reach in its industry. Still, the company's valuation is depressed.
It trades for less than 0.2 times 2019 revenues. Spotify enjoys a revenue multiple of 4.2 -- 21 times higher. As sales mix for iHeartMedia shifts to digital with higher and more sustainable growth going forward, that multiple could expand.
This past quarter, iHeartMedia posted free cash flow of $70 million, had $100 million in untapped credit, and also expects $200 million in cost savings for the 2020 year. Its operational moves and continued positive cash flow offer it some much-needed balance sheet leeway.
Finally, prior to the pandemic, Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) offered north of $20 per share to buy the company (Liberty already owns a 4.8% stake in iHeart through Liberty SiriusXM Group). That would represent about a 180% premium to the $7.12 per share where it closed Monday. While nobody should count on that bid resurfacing (the request has gotten pushback over concerns about anti-competitiveness), it's nice to see an established, successful company like Liberty making an offer.
2. Bed Bath & Beyond
While stock for specialty retailer Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) recently crept above $10 per share, it has spent the last few years below the threshold, and is more than 80% off its all-time high. New leadership, with meaningful success, has a decent chance to turn the tide for this company.
New CEO Mark Tritton came over from Target, where he spearheaded several projects that were instrumental in boosting Target's share price. Options such as "buy online, pick up in-store" have come to be recognized as no-brainers for retailers looking to boost store sales, yet Bed Bath & Beyond had not made them available. Under Tritton, the company is moving full speed ahead to debut a "buy online, pick up in-store" option.
To rationalize and transform operations further, Bed Bath & Beyond is creatively repurposing underperforming stores. Rather than shuttering them, Tritton is using those failing locations as distribution centers to meet e-commerce demand. In this way,25% of the chain's stores are being converted from cash-burning trouble spots to valuable assets for growing digital sales.
Elsewhere, Tritton is simplifying inventory. Whether it's can openers, pillowcases, or fans, the company has found that limiting the number of options it provides in a specific category actually boosts sales in those remaining products. Too many choices create decision fatigue. Not only does this strategy allow Bed Bath & Beyond to limit the amount of cash it has tied up in inventory, but it boosts revenues in the process -- a clear win-win.
Between the sale-and-lease-back efforts of several stores and its divestiture of PersonalizationMall, this company is quickly healing its balance sheet. To further bolster its cash position, the company drew down $236 million on its existing credit facility and established a new one for $850 million. The new board of directors even took a 30% pay cut due to the impact of COVID-19 on the business. With $1.4 billion in liquidity, the new leadership team has the resources to guide this retailer to a comeback.
It's rare to find companies trading for under $10 a share that offer both solid fundamentals and savvy leadership. iHeartMedia and Bed Bath & Beyond do. For investors set on investing in companies with low per-share prices, these two stocks are great options.