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MSG Networks Deleveraging Is Working

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MSG Networks Deleveraging Is Working
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Analysts at Loop Capital Markets turned bullish on MSG Networks Inc (NYSE: MSGN) amid a view that the company will "supercharge" its net debt/AOI ratio below 3.0x by the end of the fiscal year. The firm's David Miller upgrades MSG Networks' stock from Hold to Buy with a price target boosted from $19 to $25 (see his track record here).

As part of the split, which created MSGN and Madison Square Garden Co (NYSE: MSG), MSGN leverages up to $1.55 billion, or 4.5x TTM AOI, Miller explained in his upgrade note. Also, most of the cash was transferred to MSG, the business model of which was focused only on the live experience and is little concerned with cord cutting. On the other hand, the broadcast network was "left saddled with debt" and is seeing a subscriber base decline of 2.0 to 2.5 percent per year.

But now an over-the-top deal is very likely to be coming soon which could change the narrative, Miller suggested. As such, now may be the time for investors to become constructive on the stock as the company's financials are set to notably improve.

By the end of the next earnings season, MSGN's leverage metric will likely improve to at 3.39x TTM AIO, mostly due to the $178.5 million in free cash flow generated in fiscal 2016 and $192.3 million in free cash flow generated in fiscal 2017. This metric is encouraging because small-cap value companies "screen better" with money managers when their leverage ratios sit below 3.40x and is "only one turn away from what we consider true capital efficiency in the Media space."

"Of course, as more debt gets pared, the pace in achieving that capital efficiency quickens, since by simple definition, less debt results in more FCF, which in turn results in even lesser debt, which equals more FCF, which of course benefits equity holders," the analyst emphasized.

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Image Credit: By David Jones from Isle of Wight, United Kingdom - Madison Square Garden, New York, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Latest Ratings for MSG

DateFirmActionFromTo
May 2018Morgan StanleyMaintainsEqual-WeightEqual-Weight
Dec 2017Morgan StanleyDowngradesOverweightEqual-Weight
Nov 2017Loop CapitalMaintainsBuy

View More Analyst Ratings for MSG
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

Posted-In: Cord Cutting David MillerAnalyst Color Long Ideas Upgrades Price Target Analyst Ratings Trading Ideas Best of Benzinga

 

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