Call Activity Surges in Small-Cap TV Broadcaster
Gray TV (GTN) a small-cap name that has seen a surge in options activity recently including more than 9,500 June $20 calls on 5/17. This follows 10,000 of the June $17.50 calls accumulated since 5/12 while 3000 of the August $25 calls sit in OI as well. Gray has moved strong off the recent lows and back into the 55-EMA this week with the top of May value up near $22. GTN is in a bigger weekly consolidation below $24 with support near $18 and the long-term trend continuation targets $32+. The $1.96B company trades 7.11X earnings, 0.75X sales, and 8X cash with a 1.55% yield. GTN operates television stations and digital assets in the US through ABC, CBS and FOX affiliates as well as CW Plus Network. GTN is coming off a strong quarter with core advertising revenue up 4% as the market improves. Gray closed on their merger with Meredith in December including spinning off their non-local broadcast assets to IAC. The deal gives them significant scale as the second largest TV broadcaster with 113 local markets and around 35% of US households. Their mix is also skewed towards top markets. GTN has upside into year-end from the mid-term elections in November which should bring in record-breaking spending from both parties. They noted in early May that if political spending skews higher as we get closer to the vote in November, their free cash flow will accordingly move higher from guidance. Analysts have an average target for shares of $29 with a Street High $33 from Loop Capital. The firm raised estimates in March noting Gray offers one of the strongest TV station portfolios, yet its stock trades at the lowest multiple of the broadcasters, at just 3.4X free cash flow. Gray Television is high-levered but this is expected to decline in the next two years. Short interest is 5.8%. Insiders active recently including both the CEO and a director buying stock on 5/11 at $19. Hedge fund ownership rose 6%. MBX Capital and Baupost the top two holders.