Quietly Kerry Stokes’ favourite media company, Seven West Media, is back in the good books of investors — the shares jumped more than 11% last Friday to hit a year high of $1.215. The last time they were that high was back in early June, 2015 as they fell and fell amid growing investor fears about the a debt restructuring and weakening revenue and earnings fears (which were proven true). Now the trend has been well and truly reversed.

Seven West shares are up a massive 53% or more so far in 2016, while the wider market has drifted and is up a mere 1.7%. Seven West’s biggest recent announcement though carries fears for its earnings — it is negotiating with News Corp Australia to take control of the Sunday Times newspaper in Perth and an associated website. Going deeper into dying print, even in a print monopoly in Perth is a big risk, but that is being ignored by investors newly confident about Seven’s prospects.

And it is better than the shares of its rivals — Nine Entertainment shares closed at $1.15 last Friday and are in the midst of a downtrend (they were $1.27 a month ago). Nine shares are down more than 39% so far this year on weak earnings and revenues and the continuing fallout of 60 Minutes’ Beirut adventure.

And Ten shares closed at $1.06 last Friday and have risen from 96.5 cents in February. But the $1.06 is really 10.6 cents before the recent share consolidation. That still leaves Foxtel with a loss on its 14.9% stake in Ten of around $15 million. Ten is valued at around $393 million, Nine $999.2 million and Seven West $1.8 billion. The market has voted, Seven is the place to be at the moment — so different than a year ago, when it was on every investor’s sell list.

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As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

Liz
North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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