Boston Omaha (BOC 4.83%) recently reported its third-quarter earnings, and despite solid numbers all around, the stock has declined considerably. In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on Nov. 15, Fool.com contributor Matt Frankel and Industry Focus host Jason Moser discuss the numbers and why Frankel is still a big believer in the business model.
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Jason Moser: Earnings also out for Boston Omaha here last week, Matt, and Boston Omaha kind of treading water this year, stock up a few percentage points. Nothing too crazy one way or the other, but this is a business we talk a lot about on this show and in our Foolish universe. Well, it's another one of those businesses that you like a lot. Seems to be built at least somewhat in that Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A 2.24%) (BRK.B 1.97%) mold. It seems like it's working. Seems it was another uneventful, if not the good quarter.
Matt Frankel: Yeah. It's uneventful by design, I guess you would call it. Boston Omaha just had its annual meeting this past weekend. It was kind of a Berkshire-style annual meeting. It's obviously not to that same scale yet. But it's in Omaha. They rent out an auditorium just like Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger do every year.
Moser: That's Buffett's nephew, right?
Frankel: It's his great-nephew.
Moser: Great nephew. OK.
Frankel: It's I think your sister's grandson, I believe. That would make great-nephew.
Moser: But now you've got me going like the Space Balls and the Dark Helmet, those brothers, uncles, cousins, nephews, former roommate.
Frankel: Warren Buffett has no involvement with Boston Omaha, on any official level, I will say that, but it's definitely modeled after Berkshire Hathaway. Very early stage. I wanted to get to their meeting this past weekend, but I didn't. I can't go Vegas and then Omaha back-to-back. I want to go home at some point. The billboard rentals are still the majority of their business, which is important for all investors to know. That's more than half of their revenue comes from the billboard business. That was up 13% year over year, rebounding nicely from the pandemic when a lot of companies stopped advertising that much.
Broadband revenue is the fastest-growing part of its business. That more than tripled year over year. But that was acquisition- fueled, not necessarily organic growth within the business. They acquired some big wireless provider -- or not wireless, fiber network providers. On the bottom line, they posted a $0.89 earnings-per-share loss. But it wasn't very meaningful. If you remember with Berkshire, we say that their earnings per share isn't meaningful because it reflects the unrealized gains in their stock portfolio?
Frankel: Same thing applies here. They recorded a $33.7 million loss in quotes from investments. First of all, for a company that's barely cracked $1 billion in market cap, that's a big loss.
Frankel: That's because their biggest stock position is Dream Finders Homes (DFH 1.75%), by far, that went public and that stock declined significantly. But they didn't sell. It's not a realized gain, it's an unrealized gain in their investment portfolio. The EPS number really isn't that meaningful. Book value, which they consider to be their biggest barometer of growth -- it's not a perfect metric, but it shows how well they're growing intrinsic value overtime -- that grew 22% year over year.
Frankel: Nice book value growth. I will end with just a couple of things to watch with Boston Omaha before you add, you can ask me whatever you want about it. Hopefully I will know the answer. They make it tough. They just issued a 10-Q. They don't really go through earnings highlights, but two things: Their SPAC is merging with Sky Harbor, that's still pending. That's something to watch in the fourth quarter. They are investing.
That's going to be their biggest investment to date when that goes through. The most interesting tidbit I was able to find in their 10-Q: They've acquired some land in Nevada. They didn't say how much, they didn't say where exactly. They plan to start a fourth business, a built-to-rent-home business. Where they build townhomes or single-family homes for the specific purpose of owning them on their balance sheet and renting them out, kind of like a real estate investment. They just mentioned that like as a footnote in their 10-Q in typical Boston Omaha style. I'm excited about that part of the business.
Moser: They make you work for it.
Frankel: They do.
Moser: That's really interesting. Given the housing shortage, right? I mean, I think we can all agree that's an issue right now. We have a housing shortage, we got a lot of catching up to do. That's a riskier bet, so to speak, getting so heavy into real estate like that, and having it on your balance sheet. But generally speaking, over the long haul, real estate is a good investment. It feels like that's something with a lot of potential.
Frankel: Yeah, it's interesting just because the housing market's kind of going crazy lately, but the rental market, everyone always talks about it on the home affordability side. But the rental market is also kind of going through the roof, especially in some of these Sun Belt markets like the one I'm in. Rent is going up. There's just a big shortage of rental properties. They have a great relationship with our homebuilder. I mentioned Dream Finders Homes is their biggest investment. They are a big stakeholder in there. They have good relationships there. They have the financial backing to do it. It'll be interested to see if they can successfully build some homes for the purpose of renting and actually earn a nice return on them.