John Wiley & Sons
Book publisher John Wiley & Sons (JW.A) (JW.B) has been under pressure from both customers and investors in recent years, as fears that physical books will go the way of the newspaper become more founded. Still, the company has managed to adapt, offering eBook alternatives that are delivered instantly and can be read on millions of devices.
While the eBook business is necessary for Wiley, it's hardly a positive change. Because other firms (such as Amazon (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL)) own the distribution networks, Wiley is largely beholden to them for its margins. But that doesn't mean you should ignore this publisher.The content Wiley provides remains important, particularly in higher-margin scientific and technical publications, as well as in trade and professional books where Wiley owns the content distribution channels for electronic versions. While it's unlikely that mass market retail book publishing will be going anywhere, it's also unlikely that it'll get any sort of a shot in the arm from the eBook business. Wiley's real crown jewel comes in the form of its more nuanced offerings -- and management knows it. As a result, Wiley has been able to perform fundamentally in 2011, with a double-digit climb in share prices and now a 25% dividend increase last week. The dividend action brings Wiley's total payouts to a quarterly 20 cents per share. One big bullish bet on Wiley comes from Glenn Greenberg's Brave Warrior Capital, which initiated a new 2.8 million-share position in the stock in the first quarter.
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