Don't forget to check out Herb's regular column from this morning.
Now I've heard everything.
Herb's Latest: Join the discussion on
message boards. This morning,
reduced its estimates for
cash flow (or EBITDA, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) by 2% for the year. But more important, Goldman Sachs analyst Richard Greenfield said the company's fourth-quarter EBITDA would be flat -- not something you would expect to hear about a company that bills itself as the country's largest concert promoter and operator of music venues, the largest developer and manager of touring Broadway shows and the largest producer and promoter of specialized motor-sports events. It's also well on its way to becoming the largest producer and promoter of family-oriented entertainment shows.
With that kind of billing, you would think its business (especially in this economy approaching a holiday season) would be booming. But it's not, and SFX is blaming the problem on (you guessed it!) Y2K.
According to Greenfield, SFX's fourth quarter will be hurt by millennium-event cancellations and poor ticket sales for SFX-promoted millennium events: "Management believes this is the result of fears over the impact of Y2K and the potential associated travel difficulties."
That had better be all it is, because as this column pointed out
last September, when the stock was about 43, the company faces a series of hurdles, not the least of which is that it's really nothing more than a rollup, and rollups
face problems when they stop making acquisitions. SFX CEO
Robert F.X. Sillerman
disputed each of the items mentioned here in a
Interestingly, one of the five red flags hoisted in that column was that SFX had six -- count 'em,
! -- underwriters. The trouble with that is that the more underwriters a company has, the more it is assured of favorable treatment from Wall Street. Sillerman, in his response to my item, said he didn't understand why I would be concerned about an overabundance of underwriters.
Well, guess which firm
one of those underwriters? If you guessed Goldman, you're right! It seems that it took a nonunderwriter, Goldman, to lead the pack on this one. But by midmorning
, Bear Stearns
, one of the original group of six, had chimed in, lowering its fourth-quarter EBITDA estimates to $30.7 million from $46.5 million. That's a cut of 34% (ouch!) and has the impact of decreasing EBITDA by 7% for the year.
Herb Greenberg writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, though he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at
email@example.com. Greenberg also writes a monthly column for Fortune.
Mark Martinez assisted with the reporting of this column.