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Buying a Winning Team

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Investors should exercise caution when pop culture or sports intersects with the stock market. Plenty of people learned this the hard way when they dove rear-end backwards into the Facebook (FB - Get Report) IPO.

Facebook hurt more than a few people. That, however, does not mean it's a bad investment. The timing just was not right fresh off of a public offering few investors understood. With some context and a little patience, Facebook presents a compelling long-term story because it is more than a worldwide societal phenomenon.

Along similar lines, it's probably not a good idea to buy stock in a company simply because it owns or is associated with a sports franchise. Going long requires some context. If a beefy story surrounds the sports connection, buying the stock could make sense.

For the last year or so, I have beaten the bullish drum for two Canadian media and telecom stocks -- Rogers Communications (RCI - Get Report) and BCE (BCE - Get Report). Several sides of beef envelop the near- and long-term narratives of both companies.

For summaries of the bull case on these stocks, see my recent coverage on TheStreet: Two Stocks to Buy Before They Take Over Canada and Why I am Long Rogers and Bell.

In a nutshell, the Canadian government allows Rogers and Bell to dominate the nation's telecommunications industry. It also permits joint and/or cross-ownership, by Rogers and Bell, of the country's most valuable sports, entertainment and media franchises.

Of all of the assets under the Rogers or Bell purview, the biggest are, without question, their media properties (in sports, Rogers owns regional sports networks across Canada, while Bell owns a majority of The Sports Network); their respective cable, satellite, fiber-optic and IP content delivery systems and platforms; and their joint-ownership/majority stake in the National Hockey League's most valuable franchise, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It's the Leafs that could be the prime catalyst for Rogers and Bell, helping them tie all of their other synergistic parts together. In fact, Rogers and Bell might as well just combine as a single entity because, in many ways, what's good for one is good for the other.

As it stands, the two companies will continue to split Leafs telecasts between their networks and the recently acquired Leafs TV. The big prize, however, is the Canadian institution, Hockey Night in Canada, which has always belonged to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. If HNIC becomes part of the Rogers/Bell stable, it could turn two strong buys into screaming buys.
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