“undisputed leader in the digital photography market”

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, April 21, 2007

This one came in from a reader, who also proposed a solution to the teaser (like so many of my readers, he’s a wise one … and he’s right) .

This is from an ad from the Half-Priced Stocks newsletter, and if you actually follow through to the ad sell it gets a little sad — after seeing Robert Hsu and his hot topic companions charging $3,000 a year, I almost feel sorry for these guys because they’ve slashed their price to $99 for two years.

But hey, why spend a hundred bucks if you just want to find an investing idea, right? That’s what the Gumshoe and his brainiac readers are here for.

What do we know about this company, aside from the fact that it’s in the digital photography market?

This “Undervalued Stock of the Month also enjoys a strong balance sheet with $340 million in cash, is selling at a low price/cash flow ratio of just 11 (relative to an industry average of nearly 20), and is now trading -49% below its highs”

They say it has a wide moat, and a big big customer base.

“bargain hunters now have a rare opportunity to pick up one of the world’s most dominant companies at a 33% discount below our estimated fair value.”

2006 revenue of $807 million

Recent price of $48.43

So if you want to pounce on this “bargain on one of the world’s fastest-growing companies” — what ticker do you put into your little brokerage form?

That would be GYI, for Getty Images.

This is one that’s a lead-pipe certain, for what that’s worth — all of the specific clues, including the recent price and the 2006 revenue number and a few others that I didn’t bother transcribing here, match exactly.

They think it’s worth $72 a share, so that’s a big jump up from here still (it’s since climbed to the low $50s). And this is definitely not a flash in the pan company, though thay have had the standard stock option grant problems of late … they do make money, and they don’t appear overly expensive.

Getty essentially owns a massive library of stock photos and videos, and they sell and license those images — they do other stuff, too, like take photos on assignment for a multitude of commercial and journalistic clients, but most of the money and the nice profit margins come from selling images to publishers, advertisers, and anyone else who needs the perfect photo or video to illustrate a point or sell a product. Copyright is their best friend.

I have no idea what their prospects are, but their sales have been consistently climbing and they are profitable. They do have competition, from the likes of the smaller (and private) Corbis as well as from other big photo libraries and from wire services with big libraries, like Reuters. If you like them, let us know why — I don’t know if they’re worth buying, but I do know that this is the undervalued stock of the month for April from the Half-Priced Stocks newsletter.

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