Meredith (MDP) Cut to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Meredith (NYSE:MDP) from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Meredith’s strategic initiatives in digital space, brand licensing activities, solid portfolio of television stations and a robust earnings surprise history reinforce its position as one of the leading media and marketing companies. Moreover, the company acquired Time Inc. to create a leading media company, serving nearly 200 million Americans across industry-leading digital, television, print, video, mobile and social platforms placed for growth. Meredith expects to generate cost synergies of $400-$500 million annually in the first two years of the combined firm’s operations. In keeping with its strategy to focus on core operations, Meredith is offloading non-core brands. These seem inevitable due to increasing online readership, which has made the print-advertising model increasingly redundant and stiff competition from other media houses. Consequently, shares of Meredith have underperformed the industry in the past six months.”

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Other equities research analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Gabelli upgraded Meredith from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, January 31st. Benchmark reiterated a buy rating on shares of Meredith in a report on Tuesday, January 30th. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded Meredith from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, January 4th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $73.00.

NYSE:MDP traded down $0.05 on Tuesday, reaching $53.95. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 90,486 shares, compared to its average volume of 654,855. Meredith has a 12-month low of $50.63 and a 12-month high of $72.25. The company has a quick ratio of 1.10, a current ratio of 1.15 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.55. The company has a market capitalization of $2,426.82, a P/E ratio of 14.39, a P/E/G ratio of 1.46 and a beta of 1.41.

Meredith (NYSE:MDP) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, January 31st. The company reported $1.14 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.89 by $0.25. The company had revenue of $417.70 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $414.97 million. Meredith had a return on equity of 16.72% and a net margin of 16.41%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 5.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.30 earnings per share. sell-side analysts anticipate that Meredith will post 4.65 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 15th. Investors of record on Wednesday, February 28th were issued a $0.545 dividend. This represents a $2.18 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.04%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, February 27th. This is an increase from Meredith’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.52. Meredith’s payout ratio is currently 54.50%.

In related news, Director Donald C. Berg bought 3,500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 5th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $57.50 per share, with a total value of $201,250.00. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. 4.00% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in MDP. Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. acquired a new position in Meredith during the 4th quarter worth $22,201,000. Bowen Hanes & Co. Inc. acquired a new position in Meredith during the 4th quarter worth $11,691,000. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC grew its stake in Meredith by 8.3% during the 4th quarter. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC now owns 2,117,498 shares of the company’s stock worth $139,861,000 after purchasing an additional 162,700 shares in the last quarter. Standard Life Aberdeen plc grew its stake in Meredith by 11.9% during the 4th quarter. Standard Life Aberdeen plc now owns 948,554 shares of the company’s stock worth $62,676,000 after purchasing an additional 101,220 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Dearborn Partners LLC acquired a new position in Meredith during the 4th quarter worth $6,462,000. 95.13% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Meredith Company Profile

Meredith Corporation is a diversified media company. The Company is focused primarily on the home and family marketplace. The Company operates through two segments: Local Media and National Media. As of June 30, 2016, the Company’s Local Media segment includes 16 owned television stations, one managed television station and related digital and mobile media operations.

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Analyst Recommendations for Meredith (NYSE:MDP)

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