Graham Holdings Is One of Barron’s Top Stock Picks for the New Year. Here’s Why.

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Timothy O’Shaughnessy, president and CEO of Graham Holdings. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Graham Holdings is a miniature version of Berkshire Hathaway controlled by the Graham family, which has a long relationship with Warren Buffett.

The low-profile Graham Holdings (ticker: GHC) used to be known as the Washington Post Co., but it sold the flagship newspaper to Amazon.com (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos for $250 million in 2013. The CEO of Graham Holdings is Tim O’Shaughnessy, the son-in-law of former boss Don Graham, son of the famed Post publisher Katharine Graham, who died in 2001.

The conglomerate now holds a valuable group of TV stations, a sizable education business under the Kaplan banner, and a grab bag of other assets, including auto dealerships and several Washington, D.C., area restaurants, including the well-known Old Ebbitt Grill near the White House.

Graham Holdings / GHC

E=Estimate

Source: Bloomberg

The shares, which are off over 25% this year to $464, trade for about half of their estimated asset value of $910 a share, according to Craig Huber of Huber Research Partners, one of the few analysts covering the company. Graham Holdings has a market value of just $2.3 billion.

Like Berkshire, the company has a great balance sheet and is expected to have about $500 million in net cash following the sale of a podcast business to Spotify Technology (SPOT) and a pension plan that is overfunded by about $1.5 billion. The free-cash-flow yield on the stock is nearly 10%, and the company bought back 6% of its shares this year.

While the Graham family is unlikely to sell the company, its “valuation metrics are too attractive to ignore,” Huber wrote recently. He has a price target of $610 on its stock. One potential catalyst: a spinoff of the TV stations.

Write to Andrew Bary at andrew.bary@barrons.com