Ray Katz Calls It Quits

Media analyst and history buff Ray Katz is finally history himself at Bear, Stearns & Co.After nearly two decades as a sell-side securities analyst, he resigned his post last Thursday. Katz’s exit has been long in coming. He had been snooping for his replacement for months before finding a worthy successor: Spencer Wang, who has been media analyst for JP Morgan.

Katz was a Bronx, N.Y., elementary school teacher and a CBS executive before he took his first Wall Street job at age 39. He rose to prominence tracking cable and entertainment companies and regularly appeared on Institutional Investor magazine’s annual ranking of top media analysts.

"It’s time to try something else," says Katz. He has nothing but praise for Bear Stearns but acknowledges some weariness of the "day trips to Singapore" and other such job requirements.

He’s not sure what his next gig will be—a buy-side institutional-investment firm, a private-equity firm or perhaps elsewhere at Bear Stearns.

"I’m not going to go to another sell-side job," he says.

He’ll wrap up sometime after Bear Stearns’ annual media-investment conference in two weeks.

Any parting predictions?

"Cable’s oversold" and will bounce back, he says. "Media stocks will do better than everybody thinks," particularly Time Warner, "if they can straighten out AOL."

Here’s one prophecy he will guarantee: "I forecast that Cablevision will drop a bomb somewhere along the line. That’s the easiest prediction to make."