COMCAST CORP CMCSA
May 02, 2017 - 8:37pm EST by
thecafe
2017 2018
Price: 39.19 EPS 0 0
Shares Out. (in M): 4,730 P/E 0 0
Market Cap (in $M): 189 P/FCF 0 0
Net Debt (in $M): 59 EBIT 0 0
TEV ($): 248 TEV/EBIT 0 0

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Description

 

As has been well established in prior vic writeups on comcast / cable players, CMCSA has an attractive business model and its operating leverage creates a compounding effect as revenue grows over time. Despite being a consensus long, we think at current levels CMCSA equity is reasonably attractive in this market. CMCSA is primarily an infrastructure cable asset with significant barriers to entry and a long runway for growth trading at a reasonabe (relative to peers / market) valuation of ~8.3x consensus 2018 EBITDA / ~12.5x EBITDA-capex / 5.5% unlevered FCF yield / ~6.0% LFCF yield. We see this as a long-term investment rather than an event-driven equity, though potential equity positive catalysts include (1) churn benefit from entry into wireless, (2) potential roll-back of net neutrality - both from reduced risk of rate regulation and ability to monetize traffic from edge providers like NFLX, FB, GOOG, etc - though need to consider temporary vs. permanent changes, (3) potential tax reform (incl capex deductability or extension of bonus depr.). We see 40-50% total returns over 2-3 years from a combination of capital return and multiple/fcf yield re-rate as business meets/outperforms estimates and would opportunistically add on dips. Risks include silly M&A, overbuilds by competitors like Altice USA, increased broadband regulation, NBCU business underperformance.

Key pros/cons:

[+] Comcast's cable business is a regional oligopoly/monopoly with infrastructure economics - significant runway for incr broadband penetration and price improvements over time

[+] Ability to monetize infrastructure for wireless / 5G - as wireless cos densify this can be an impt source of incremental revenue for comcast which has a footprint in over 40% of the US

[+] Enterprise business growing in double digits / has significant runway given current mkt share positions relative to ILECs

[+] Entry into wireless reduces churn of existing customers / could provide incremental revenue opportunity - we agree with the churn benefit from existing base if the mobile/wifi handoffs are smooth though we are skeptical of the rev opportunity which some sell-siders say is an incr $2/sh

[+ /-] NBCU business has attractive franchises and provides modest hedge on programming/content side, but movie business is lumpy/risky - we think NBC biz is inherently hard to predict given film lumpiness/tv ratings etc. and current strong film yr will create tough comps

[-] Pay-tv declines from cord-cutting/OTT launches pressure cable revenue growth - X-1 penetration is over half which has helped moderate vid declines for cmcsa vs industry. medium-term we assume video declines but think video is a lower margin revenue source given programming costs and broadband is a necessary substitute for streaming... over time cable rev composition improves as video becomes a smaller component.

[-] Competition in broadband market from fixed wireless / 5G mobile - think this is a long-term risk and would monitor trials both from incumbents and startups, though see 5G more in dense urban areas so max overlap could be limited

Catalysts-

Entry into wireless

Potential tax reform / roll-back of net neutrality

I do not hold a position with the issuer such as employment, directorship, or consultancy.
I and/or others I advise do not hold a material investment in the issuer's securities.

Catalyst

Entry into wireless

 

Potential tax reform / roll-back of net neutrality

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