Robert Hanley

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  • Should You Buy Into This Publisher's Leveraged Bet?

    By Robert Hanley - August 19, 2013 | Tickers: BLC, GCI, NYT

    Consumers are increasingly getting their news and information from online channels, often at no cost, which has presented big problems for leading newpaper publishers like Gannett (NYSE: GCI) and New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT). While paywalls and all-access plans have stemmed circulation revenue declines for the companies, advertisers continue to move their advertising dollars into alternative online channels.  For its part, Gannett has offset this irreversible trend by diversifying more »

  • This Kreme Is a Rising Star

    By Robert Hanley - August 19, 2013 | Tickers: DNKN, KKD, SBUX

    Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (NYSE: KKD) looks like it is once again on the right track with rising international store counts in places like India and Russia and a sharply higher stock price over the past twelve months.  Despite heavy competition in the quick serve category for the morning crowd, especially from Dunkin’ Brands (NASDAQ: DNKN) and Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX), the company has strong brand loyalty to its signature doughnuts.  It more »

  • Is Now the Time to Invest in this Fitness Equipment Maker?

    By Robert Hanley - August 19, 2013 | Tickers: BGFV, DKS, NLS

    Rising obesity levels in the U.S. and around the world are forcing individuals and the medical establishment to rethink health choices.  Fortunately, it is leading some people to become more proactive about their health, adding exercise and a healthy diet to their daily regimen.  The focus on physical fitness is helping the sales of equipment manufacturers, like Nautilus (NYSE: NLS), and their associated retail distributors.  So, can investors find more »

  • Can This Grocer Live Up to Its Name?

    By Robert Hanley - August 16, 2013 | Tickers: SVU, KR, WFM

    SUPERVALU’s (NYSE: SVU) name might imply something extraordinary, but its results have been less than extraordinary lately, as it struggles with declining store profitability and too many brands. SUPERVALU's untimely purchase of Albertson’s grocery chains in 2006 almost proved to be the company’s undoing, as it had limited recourse to pay off its debt maturities.

    Fortunately, private equity giant Cerberus and its partners came to the more »

  • How Should You Play This Big Advertising Tie-Up?

    By Robert Hanley - August 15, 2013 | Tickers: AOL, OMC, IPG

    In July 2013, global advertising giants Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC) and France-based Publicus Groupe announced a merger of equals, thereby creating an entity that recorded $22.7 billion in revenues during 2012 and has a gold-plated list of Fortune 500 clients.  Their intention was likely to protect their existing advertising businesses and client rosters, in the face of competition from rising digital ad network operators, like AOL (NYSE: AOL).  Despite more »

  • Should You Follow Mr. Buffett Into the Underwear Business?

    By Robert Hanley - August 14, 2013 | Tickers: HBI, LTD, MFB

    Always on the lookout for value, Warren Buffett and his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate bought a leading position in the underwear business back in 2002 when it acquired Fruit of the Loom out of bankruptcy protection.  It further solidified the unit’s operating position with the purchase of competitor Russell Corporation in 2007.  Most likely, the Oracle of Omaha was attracted to the consistently recurring nature of underwear purchases and consumers more »

  • Tough Times for the King of Weight Loss

    By Robert Hanley - August 13, 2013 | Tickers: GNC, MED, WTW

    Weight Watchers International (NYSE: WTW) may be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, but investors haven’t had much to cheer about lately with the stock price down 19% over the past twelve months.  The company built a global weight loss empire by focusing on face-to-face interactions, starting with the first meeting in founder Jean Nidetch’s apartment in 1963.  Since then, Weight Watchers’ behavioral treatment program has become more »

  • Should You Follow Management's Big Buy in This Video Game Maker?

    By Robert Hanley - August 12, 2013 | Tickers: ATVI, GME, ZNGA

    In July 2013, leading video game publisher Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI) decided to get out from under majority owner Vivendi’s yoke, agreeing to pay $8.2 billion for most of the France-based conglomerate’s position. According to the announcement, $5.8 billion will be purchased by the company and $2.4 billion of the shares will be purchased by investors led by the company’s CEO and Chairman. The more »

  • Has This Industry Finally Gone Mainstream?

    By Robert Hanley - August 9, 2013 | Tickers: DDD, SSYS, UPS

    3D printing is probably still foreign to a lot of of people, at least relative to paper printing, despite a shout-out from the President during his latest State of the Union address. 3D printers create objects by “printing” successive layers of resin or thermoplastic material onto a base, according to design files that are input to an attached computer system.  While the primary users of the machines have been manufacturing more »

  • Are the Beverage Giants Worried About This Upstart?

    By Robert Hanley - August 7, 2013 | Tickers: KO, PEP, SODA

    The top two U.S. global beverage giants, Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) and PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), have annual advertising budgets that are larger than SodaStream’s (NASDAQ: SODA) annual sales total.  However, growth in their unit sales volumes have stalled out, including in the important North American market, as more consumers search for healthier options than the traditional sugary carbonated beverages.  While the beverage giants have added fruit juices and premium more »

  • Is This the Last Tie-Up in the Hospital Sector?

    By Robert Hanley - August 7, 2013 | Tickers: CYH, HMA, SEM

    The top hospital operators have been active lately in the M&A market, as they try to catch number one hospital operator HCA Holdings. Tenet Healthcare offered to acquire Vanguard Health Systems in June 2013 to gain operating scale, adding facilities with over 7,000 beds. Not to be outdone, Community Health Systems (NYSE: CYH) offered to acquire smaller competitor Health Management Associates (NYSE: HMA) in July 2013, adding over more »

  • Should You Follow India Into the Tire Biz?

    By Robert Hanley - August 1, 2013 | Tickers: CTB, GM, GT

    In June 2012, India-based tiremaker Apollo Tyres made a bid to join the industry’s upper echelon, offering to acquire Cooper Tire & Rubber (NYSE: CTB) for $35 per share in cash or roughly $2.5 billion.  The combination would make Apollo the world’s sixth largest tiremaker and add a strong presence in the U.S.  While the original equipment tire segment is controlled by giants like Goodyear (NASDAQ: GTmore »)

  • Should You Dip a Toe in the Education Sector?

    By Robert Hanley - August 1, 2013 | Tickers: APOL, LOPE, WPO

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a record 21.6 million students attended U.S. colleges and universities in 2012, up 40% from 2000. With relatively inelastic demand, seemingly bottomless government funding, and a limited supply of schools, the sector seems to have favorable investment characteristics. Indeed, the industry’s favorable economics led to fast growth for the for-profit education providers, until government investigations into programs and recruiting more »

  • Could This Online Pet Supplier Join the Seattle Web Giant's Empire?

    By Robert Hanley - August 1, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, PETS, PETM

    Amazon’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) primary focus may be on its Kindle technology and digital media franchise, but it continues to add products to the world’s largest marketplace. When building product categories are not cost effective, it acquires value-enhancing brands, like its purchase of online shoe purveyor Zappos.

    With $52 billion in annual sales, the pet products business is also on the company’s radar, which it participates in through more »

  • This Jones Isn't Keeping Up

    By Robert Hanley - July 30, 2013 | Tickers: FNP, KORS, JNY

    Jones Group’s (NYSE: JNY) share price perked up in early July based on media reports of renewed interest in a takeover of the beleaguered clothier.  Despite an operating footprint across 70 countries, the company’s hodgepodge of 35 brands, including Nine West and Anne Klein, has yet to find a winning formula for profits.  While a diverse portfolio of brands has worked on the men’s side, notably at more »

  • Has This Healthcare Device Innovator Put out the 'For Sale' Sign?

    By Robert Hanley - July 26, 2013 | Tickers: CFN, HSP, ICUI

    ICU Medical’s (NASDAQ: ICUI) share price jumped sharply in early May after media outlets reported potential buyer interest in the medical device specialist.  The company was one of the pioneers of needle-free connector devices that attach multiple syringes to a patient’s catheter, thereby allowing healthcare workers to avoid infection-causing needlepricks.  Its Clave brand of devices has a leading market share in the IV connector segment, thanks to a more »

  • Are There Investment Opportunities at Your 6-month Teeth Cleaning?

    By Robert Hanley - July 24, 2013 | Tickers: ALGN, XRAY, PDCO

    For most Americans, going to the dentist is right up there with paying taxes as things we don’t particularly look forward to.  Of course, a healthy smile is a useful thing to have, whether you’re going to a job interview or a first date.  The recurring nature of the business and its increasing use of technology make it a fertile ground for investment opportunities.  While the supply distribution more »

  • Can This Tiny Healthcare IT Outsourcer Play With the Big Boys?

    By Robert Hanley - July 24, 2013 | Tickers: ATHN, CERN, STRM

    Domestic spending on healthcare is clearly on an unsustainable growth path, with $2.8 trillion spent in 2012 according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, roughly 17% of GDP.  The potential solutions to the problem are varied, but technology will certainly play an increasingly large role in lowering costs.  The federal government has been doing its part to foment the adoption of technology products, offering approximately $35 billion more »

  • Should You Invest in These Struggling Truckers?

    By Robert Hanley - July 22, 2013 | Tickers: ABFS, ODFL, YRCW

    The trucking industry has been running in a higher gear lately, as domestic economic growth has led to higher shipments of a variety of products, including auto components and general retail goods.  The big winners have been the less-than-truckload companies, like Old Dominion Freight Line (NASDAQ: ODFL), which efficiently carry items for multiple customers over relatively short distances, typically 500 to 1,000 miles.  While long haul truckers haven’t more »

  • Should You Follow Mr. Buffett Into the Utilities Sector?

    By Robert Hanley - July 19, 2013 | Tickers: BRK-B, BRK-A, BIP, NVE

    Following and investing with Warren Buffett has been a wealth-maximizing move for millions of investors.  Since taking control of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B) in 1965, he has generated a 19.7% compounded annual growth in book value per share, impressive to say the least.  However, with Berkshire’s assets topping $400 billion, Buffett and company have had to move into slower growth, regulated sectors like railroads and utilities.  The company more »

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