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Crazy, Mixed-Up Values

November 30, 2008 8:40 PM

One result of the stock-market meltdown has been to value big, profitable television companies at absurdly low levels. Blink isn’t given to unkind comparisons, but can’t help but make some observations. Take CBS Corp., which had a market capitalization of $4.02 billion on Nov. 25. That either makes NBC Universal’s purchase of the Weather Channel for $3.5 billion look like the world’s worst bargain, or it implies that stock brokers don’t care about CBS’ killer ratings in prime time of late. And who would have guessed that little CNET, the tech-savvy Web site that sold to CBS for $1.8 billion, would carry a price tag that exceeds the market’s valuation of good old TV and newspaper owner Gannett Co., whose market cap dipped to $1.7 billion last week? It all leaves us wondering where the bottom may be, and whether that bar around the corner is open for lunch.

—Greg Baumann

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