In late June, I touched base on Boston Omaha‘s (NASDAQ: BOMN) most recent quarterly report and its subsequent sale of $150 million in Class A common stock. At the time, I reminded investors that the yet-to-be-profitable financial holding company was bolstering its balance sheet in order to make strategic investments, while keeping in mind — as management put it — that its billboard and surety insurance operations were “being built to manage a lot more business than they currently handle.”
Sure enough, Boston Omaha wasted little time putting its new cash hoard to work, making three billboard-centric acquisitions through its Link Media Outdoor subsidiary over the past five weeks. And each purchase was far bigger than the last.
The making of an outdoor ad leader
First, on July 31, 2018, Link Media announced its acquisition of Tammy Lynn Outdoor, a West Virginia-based outdoor advertising company with more than 250 billboard faces and land costs averaging just 5% of total revenue. Boston Omaha didn’t disclose its purchase price, but it did note that while the majority of the price will be funded with cash, Tammy Lynn co-owner Bud Acken was given 85,170 shares of Boston Omaha stock worth just over $1.8 million as part of the consideration.
Only a few weeks later on August 22, 2018, Link Media followed by announcing its $38 million cash acquisition of Key Outdoor, Inc., an Illinois-based outdoor ad company with more than 700 billboard structures, nearly 1,800 advertising faces, and land costs averaging a reasonable 20% of revenue. The move marked Link Media’s first acquisition in the Midwest region and — together with Tammy Lynn Outdoor — effectively increased its number of billboard advertising faces by nearly 200% from the end of June 2018.
Finally, on August 31, 2018, Link Media capped its acquisition streak by announcing it has agreed to pay $82 million in cash to buy essentially all the assets of Nebraska-based Waitt Outdoor, a Midwest billboard giant with more than 1,600 structures and 2,500 advertising faces across Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. In one fell swoop, this purchase roughly doubled Link Media’s advertising face count.
Boston Omaha co-CEO Adam Peterson added:
Waitt Outdoor is a high-quality collection of mostly static billboard assets that have been superbly managed over the last two decades. Accordingly, we paid a full price that is commensurate with the quality nature of these long duration assets. We are excited to watch the team at Link build and extract value from our increasingly dense Midwest footprint.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Boston Omaha stock has soared nearly 40% since the acquisitions were announced, most recently including a more than 13% single-day pop following the Waitt Outdoor deal.
After all, Boston Omaha was previously operating at a loss as it positioned its business for future growth. Revenue last quarter came in at just under $3 million, which translated to a net loss of over $2 million.
Going forward, however, these acquisitions should add some meat to Boston Omaha’s operating results, providing a base through which the company can continue investing to expand its scope without necessarily having to turn to its equity as a source of capital. As such, I think long-term investors have every right to be excited about what’s to come.
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