Can Scholastic Stock Finally Break Out?

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Written By Joel Gbolade

Scholastic, a prominent provider of books, educational materials, and media, has experienced a relatively uneventful quarter, with significant activity expected in the upcoming Q4 due to the end-of-school-year book fairs.

Despite some disappointing performance in specific segments, such as book clubs, the company has shown resilience with falling Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) and the strategic acquisition of 9 Story Media Group.

While these developments are positive, there doesn’t appear to be any compelling reason to consider Scholastic a standout investment at this time.

Q3 Earnings Analysis

Credits: DepositPhotos

Scholastic’s Q3 performance was influenced by the reversal of the inventory hoarding effects seen in 2023. The company had previously accumulated inventory at higher costs due to inflation and elevated freight and material expenses.

With these issues now behind, Scholastic has benefited from destocking, resulting in a significant improvement in gross margins despite stable revenues year-over-year. Specifically, COGS fell by over 10%, leading to a meaningful increase in gross margin.

The book club business continues to face challenges, primarily due to its discretionary nature and reliance on school participation. Scholastic has responded by downsizing this segment to restore its unit economics, resulting in cost savings but continued revenue pressure.

Q4 and FY Outlook

The upcoming Q4 is crucial for Scholastic, with several high-profile book releases, including the final book in the Amulet graphic novel series, a new Suzanne Collins book, and a new Dog Man book.

These releases, combined with the book fairs, are expected to drive significant revenue. Additionally, the absence of COVID-19 disruptions in 2024 should further bolster performance.

Acquisition of 9 Story Media Group

A significant development for Scholastic is the acquisition of 9 Story Media Group, a production company and longstanding vendor. This acquisition aims to leverage Scholastic’s properties for screen adaptations, including a reboot of “Magic School Bus” and other popular titles like “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”

The acquisition, valued at approximately $183 million or 1.8x EV/Revenue, aligns with industry norms and presents a strategic opportunity to enhance Scholastic’s media presence.

Valuation and Competitive Analysis

Scholastic’s valuation, trading at around 20x forward earnings, is not particularly compelling compared to peers like Kadokawa (OTCPK), which trades at 25x forward earnings.

Kadokawa has been more proactive in bringing its content to the screen and holds substantial non-operating assets that enhance its overall value. Scholastic’s recent operational performance and its valuation do not present a strong case for significant upside potential.


Credits: DepositPhotos

While Scholastic has shown resilience and strategic foresight with its inventory management and acquisition of 9 Story Media Group, its current valuation and performance do not offer a compelling investment opportunity.

The company’s focus on upcoming book fairs and new releases may provide a temporary boost, but long-term prospects appear stable rather than growth-oriented. Investors may find better opportunities elsewhere in the market, particularly with peers demonstrating more aggressive growth strategies and valuation advantages.

Key Takeaways

  • Resilience in Tough Conditions: Scholastic has managed to improve margins despite stable revenues, showing effective cost management.
  • Strategic Acquisition: The acquisition of 9 Story Media Group provides potential for future growth through media adaptations.
  • Cautious Outlook: Despite some positive developments, the overall outlook remains cautious with no compelling reason to prioritize Scholastic as an investment.

Investors should consider these factors and monitor Scholastic’s Q4 performance and the impact of its new media strategy before making any investment decisions.


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