Why AMC Networks Stock Is Soaring Today

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What happened

Shares of AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) surged as much as 18.1% higher on Monday morning. The market reaction followed after a $500 million refinancing move and a bit of ticker confusion. The stock cooled down to a milder gain of 8.1% as of 1:50 p.m., EST.

So what

Early this morning, the cable TV content creator and distributor announced that it is raising $500 million of senior debt papers due for repayment in 2029. The proceeds of this offering will be used to pay down $500 million of existing debt with shorter expiration dates. Nothing too crazy, just a basic refinancing of corporate debt. AMC Networks’ balance sheet is in reasonably good repair, balancing $1.1 billion of cash equivalents against $2.8 billion in long-term debt. The company regularly reports positive free cash flows.

However, the similarly named but unrelated company AMC Entertainment Holdings (NYSE:AMC) also reported that it has raised $917 million of fresh debt since December 14. This is a very big deal for the movie theater operator, which is struggling to keep its head above water due to limited movie-going interest and a weak slate of new films during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two media companies are easily confused, and this wouldn’t be the first time one stock made a big move based on what an unrelated business with a similar name and ticker was doing that day. Even their ticker symbols are nearly identical.

Now what

AMC Networks investors should write off today’s big move as a misunderstanding. The company’s own refinancing news should not have moved the stock more than 10% on its own, since this business is doing alright and generating positive cash flows. If anything, AMC Networks still looks like a solid buy even after this sudden spike, trading at just 2.7 times free cash flows and 6.5 times forward earnings amid a strategy shift toward video-streaming services.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see AMC Networks taking a haircut over the next few days as today’s overly enthusiastic buyers realize their mistake and sell their shares. That’s also not a cause for concern, just a normal correction of Monday’s error. And then you’ll be able to pick up AMC Networks shares at even cheaper starting prices.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.



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