Robert Hanley

Editor's Choice

  • Is This Telecom Services Contractor Worth More Than You Think?

    By Robert Hanley - July 10, 2013 | Tickers: DTV, DISH, MBND | Editor's Choice

    Telecom services contractor Multiband (NASDAQ: MBND) agreed to sell out to privately-held Goodman Networks in May 2013 for roughly $70 million, or $3.25 per share in cash.  Goodman, an engineering services company, seems to have been attracted to Multiband’s growing engineering services unit that constructs public telecom and energy infrastructure assets on a project basis.  However, Multiband is also the #2 field services provider for DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTVmore »)

  • Should You Invest in the Investment Bank Survivors?

    By Robert Hanley - July 2, 2013 | Tickers: SCHW, GS, MS | Editor's Choice

    The financial crisis irrevocably changed the investment banking landscape, leading to the demise of Lehman Brothers and the acquisition of Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch by commercial banks. The two major survivors, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), were able to maintain their independence thanks to federal liquidity programs and timely conversions to bank holding companies in 2008. However, the devil is in the details, as the more »

  • Between a Rock and a Hard...Dish

    By Robert Hanley - March 2, 2013 | Tickers: CLWR, DISH, S | Editor's Choice

    Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) and Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) continue to fight over Clearwire (NASDAQ: CLWR), a company that has never earned a profit but owns valuable wireless spectrum.  In December 2012, Sprint made a $2.2 billion cash offer for Clearwire that was below the prevailing stock price, though it was significantly above Clearwire’s average price for the year.  Seeing potential value, Dish made a conditional $2.5 more »

  • Have These Tech Icons Found Their Way?

    By Robert Hanley - February 15, 2013 | Tickers: AOL, GOOG, YHOO | Editor's Choice

    Most of the early internet portals have long since disappeared, or they were swallowed up by larger, more diversified companies. Excite, @Home, and were a few of the high-flying names whose long-term business plans didn’t quite match their hype. Two of the biggest portals, AOL (NYSE: AOL) and Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO), have survived on the strength of their investment holdings, but the companies have generated little revenue more »

  • This Staffing Firm Is on the Mark

    By Robert Hanley - January 15, 2013 | Tickers: KELYA, MAN, ASGN | Editor's Choice

    It has been a hard slog for the global staffing industry over the past few years, as the U.S. financial crisis and slow subsequent recovery has caused companies to remain cautious in their growth ambitions and hiring plans.  Despite creating 1.8 million jobs in 2011, the official U.S. unemployment rate remains around 8% and various government entities have more job cuts ahead in order to get their more »

  • Legendary Investors Love This Sector

    By Robert Hanley - January 15, 2013 | Tickers: ARII, BRK-B, GBX | Editor's Choice

    Berkshire Hathaway’s (NYSE: BRK-B) Chairman Warren Buffett made a big bet on the rail business in 2010 with his acquisition of Burlington Northern, a major part of America’s railroad infrastructure.  The company also competes in the rail services business through its ownership of Union Tank Car, the Chicago-based manufacturer of railcars and related components.  Those investments have continued to pay dividends in 2012, as rising auto shipments led more »

  • America: Land of the ... Sports Nut

    By Robert Hanley - January 2, 2013 | Tickers: BWLD, MSG, SIRI, STRZA | Editor's Choice

    Americans are still crazy about their sports, as they watch and attend games in record numbers.  Major League Baseball recently announced that their teams sold a cumulative 74.8 million tickets to their games in 2012, a gain of 1.9% over 2011 sales.  The college ranks are also faring well, with the NCAA reporting that a cumulative 49.7 million tickets were sold to their football contests in 2011 more »

  • Finding Value in Nooks and Crannies

    By Robert Hanley - December 31, 2012 | Tickers: AMZN, AAPL, BKS, MSFT, PSO | Editor's Choice

    I’m not sure about the market for crannies, but investors are seeing substantial value in NOOK Media, the majority-owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) and developer of the NOOK family of electronic reading products. 

    On December 28th, Barnes & Noble announced that Pearson (NYSE: PSO), the British publishing giant, had bought a 5% stake in the NOOK business for $89.5 million, which valued the subsidiary at $1 more »

  • Building a Coffee Empire

    By Robert Hanley - December 26, 2012 | Tickers: CBOU, BAGL, GMCR, SBUX | Editor's Choice

    On Dec. 17, investment firm Joh. A. Benckiser Group announced an agreement to purchase Caribou Coffee (NASDAQ: CBOU) for $16 per share in cash, or roughly $340 million.  The purchase price values the coffeehouse chain at 3.3 times book value and 39 times EPS.  Benckiser obviously likes the industry’s growth prospects, with existing stakes in Peet’s Coffee & Tea and D.E. Master Blenders.

    What’s Going On more »

  • Made in America: Chocolate

    By Robert Hanley - December 20, 2012 | Tickers: BRK-B, HSY, WMT | Editor's Choice

    Americans didn’t invent chocolate, but we sure know how to consume it in large quantities.  According to the Department of Commerce, domestic chocolate consumption in 2010 was roughly 3.6 billion pounds versus 3.2 billion pounds in 2000.  Cocoa beans, the raw material of processed chocolate, are indigenous to South America, although the northern parts of Africa now account for a majority of the plant’s annual production more »

  • Travel With Friends

    By Robert Hanley - December 19, 2012 | Tickers: EXPE, LINTA, SIRI, TRIP | Editor's Choice

    On December 11, Liberty Interactive (NASDAQ: LINTA) increased its control over its media empire with the purchase of 4.8 million shares of TripAdvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP) for $62.50 per share, a premium of 62.8% over the prevailing price.  Chairman Barry Diller and his family foundation were the sellers of the shares, which also included Mr. Diller resigning his post as chairman of the company.  Liberty already held controlling more »

  • Auto Parts Business Springs a Leak

    By Robert Hanley - December 11, 2012 | Tickers: AAP, AZO, GPI, ORLY, PBY | Editor's Choice

    The retail auto parts business has enjoyed success over the past few years, as the financial crisis led people to hold on to their cars longer and purchase more maintenance services to increase their vehicle's performance.  The business also consolidated significantly with the advent of national chains, including the big four of AutoZone (NYSE: AZO), Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP), O’Reilly Automotive (NASDAQ: ORLY), and Pep Boys (NYSE: PBYmore »)

  • Transform, More Like Deform

    By Robert Hanley - December 5, 2012 | Tickers: DELL, HPQ, IBM | Editor's Choice

    Business transformation strategies look great on paper, but results often come up short when applied to the real world.  The two major U.S. computer manufacturers, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) and Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), have been trying to change and diversify into high-margin services businesses for a number of years, as their core businesses mature and foreign competition intensifies.  The desire to speed the process often results in overpaying for businesses more »

  • On The Road Again

    By Robert Hanley - November 29, 2012 | Tickers: CMI, FLT, ODFL | Editor's Choice

    The trucking industry continues to roll, delivering the nation’s products from manufacturers to your local neighborhood merchant.  According to the American Trucking Association, an industry trade group, trucking companies transport roughly 70% of the country’s freight and they continue to be a leading barometer of economic growth.  While the financial crisis of 2008 led to reduced traffic and some bankruptcies, smart operators have spent the last few years more »

  • The Healthcare Stocks You Need to Watch

    By Robert Hanley - November 12, 2012 | Tickers: CNC, HUM, MDF, MOH | Editor's Choice

    On Nov. 5, healthcare giant Humana (NYSE: HUM) agreed to buy Metropolitan Health Networks (NYSE: MDF) for $498 million, or $11.25 per share, in cash.  Metropolitan is a leading owner of physician practices, operating through its MetCare of Florida, Continucare, and Symphony Health Partners subsidiaries.  The company provides primary care services to 87,500 customers who are enrolled in government insurance (Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid) or commercial insurance more »