Is Emmis’ Future As A Technology Company?
Following the release of Emmis’ quarterly earnings and sale of KPWR Los Angeles, two of the company’s biggest stockholders are questioning whether the company should shed its remaining broadcast assets.
Timothy Stabosz, Emmis’ third largest shareholder, and stock-broker John Reardon who were both among the biggest opponents of Jeff Smulyan’s attempts to take Emmis private last year both told the Indianapolis Star that they see the company becoming focused on the TagStation/NextRadio and Digonex properties.
Reardon told the Star, “I personally think Emmis is going to be in a slow-motion liquidation” and suggested the company could net $170 million for its remaining properties. He also stated, “After the buyout deal was canceled and the stock languished into the low $2s, you know, I thought about writing them a letter just saying, ‘Hey, if you still want to do it for $4 and change, I’m OK with that”.
Stabosz, who has increased his holdings in Emmis to 500,000 shares, commented to the newspaper that he’d “like to see a systematic effort to rebrand Emmis as a technology firm. I’d like to see it rebranded as NextRadio Inc. or Emmis Technologies, where it’s not tarred with the brush of being old-line radio.”
TagStation is the cloud data service that allows stations to synchronize their broadcasts with images, interactive touch points, and other related data for display in the NextRadio app, HD Radio, and connected car dashboards. NextRadio being the app powering FM reception in many smartphones and expanding to other devices. Digonex collects purchasing patterns and market data to assist companies in setting pricing for ticketed events.