You want to earn a woman's loyalty? Find out what issues are on her mind, and then give her encouragement -- and suggest options -- to deal with them. That's exactly what media company Meredith
Yesterday, Meredith reached an agreement in principle (I guess only the lawyers are left to sign) to acquire four magazines for $350 million from publisher Gruner + Jahr. The titles are Parents,Child,Fitness, and Family Circle, and they fit in well with Meredith's stable of brands that already include Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies' Home Journal. The combined group will now target the main issues on the minds of many women under 35: their bodies, their families, and their homes.
The best part is that those are the things women buy for as well. So if a consumer-products company like Procter & Gamble
But although Meredith is certainly an expert in developing great content for women, let's not forget that it's in business to make money. So while its readers will benefit from the articles, here's how I see the deal benefiting shareholders: Rounding out the offerings and channels will give Meredith more scale (size) and bargaining power. Bargaining power, in turn, means increased pricing power when negotiating ad sales. Scale means more opportunities for more ad placements. And scale times bargaining power means revenue growth and cash-flow creation.
On the surface, it appears that Meredith got a good deal for the titles. Its new magazines generate $300 million in sales and more than $30 million in EBITDA. Meredith's stock is priced at just over two times sales, and the bulk of the company's revenues come from magazine publishing.
In business strategy, Meredith is employing a principle known as the parenting advantage, in which an asset becomes more valuable because the best parent controls it. Another great example of this strategy is Berkshire Hathaway's ownership of ClaytonHomes. The relationship gives Clayton the ability to grow by offering its customers great financing with a low cost of capital.
Apparently, the market likes the Meredith deal; the stock is up 4% from yesterday's opening price. But although Meredith seems fairly priced, given its trailing-12-month P/E of 20, the industry average also comes in at 20. So I would recommend waiting for a dip before buying into this magazine giant.