In the stock market's eyes, Snyder Communications Inc., the Bethesda marketing company that Dan Snyder founded and runs, seems an expansion team.
While Snyder Communications tallied $880 million in revenue in the past four quarters and steadily increased its profit over the same period, the company has only been playing in Wall Street's big leagues since its initial public offering in 1996.
Since then, Snyder has grown through a rapid series of mergers with other media and marketing companies. The result is a management team with some newcomers who still are learning how to play together, and a stock market that isn't sure how to value the company. The same week that Snyder took control of the Redskins, the stock of Snyder Communications hit a 52-week low.
"We have to remember the company is effectively three years old. It's very early," said George Shipp, an analyst with Scott & Stringfellow in Richmond.
Snyder Communications got started a decade ago in humble fashion by selling advertising space in "WallBoards," or framed display cases that it put up in doctors' offices and other sites. Then it moved into telemarketing, building up a large database of immigrant households where foreign languages were spoken.
Using its own sales force, the company took on drug marketing campaigns for major pharmaceutical firms with hot products, such as the antidepressant Prozac. It bought other firms specializing in advertising, direct marketing and strategic planning, seeking to strengthen its ties to Fortune 500 customers.
Snyder's latest foray is an Internet division with $40 million in annual revenue that combines Web-based marketing with targeted selling using databases of prospects.
The company's story has not yet caught on with investors. On Friday the stock closed at $24.43 3/4, near its 52-week low on the New York Stock Exchange, down from a high of $50 a share last July.
The lack of investor interest baffles Shipp and other analysts.
"The client base is a Who's Who of corporate America. The finances are pristine. Growth has been excellent and the company has hit all the targets that the investment community has expected," Shipp said.
"There's certainly a possibility that the market is distracted by the Redskins," he added, referring to the stock's most recent dip. Investors want chief executives to be "99.9 percent" concentrated on how to get the stock price up, Shipp said.
Although investors may still be figuring the company out, the Redskins organization -- and fans -- can find some clues to Snyder's approach from his business record.
One way in which Snyder is likely to bring his marketing experience to the home team will be to stress "relationship marketing" based on a precise understanding of what the customer wants and needs.
"You have to enhance the relationship with the fan," Snyder said. "That means make it more enjoyable. That means the parking hassle has to disappear."
The Redskins will also get instant exposure to Snyder's management style, which is to seek out high-level talent for key jobs, set very demanding goals, give his subordinates room to succeed and hold them accountable if the goals aren't met.
Fred Drasner, the New York publishing executive who was one of Snyder's initial financial backers and is now a co-owner of the Redskins, is one of many who confirm the intensity of Snyder's demands on his key aides.
"He works very, very hard. If you want the weekends off, [Snyder Communications] is a tough place to be an executive," Drasner said. "But he's only a tough boss if you're not in the game."
The Redskins organization got a sense of that last week when Snyder conducted his first extended interview since winning National Football League owners' approval to buy the team.
"We're going to instill some energy," Snyder said. "We really focus and dedicate and put pressure on when needed and we will put the pressure on. . . . I think people generally perform better under pressure.
"Certain players that are severely overweight [will] be losing their weight under us. We're not going to tolerate that. Certain players that don't want to play won't be on the team. And we're going to make it clear, we want to win."
CAPTION: Dan Snyder at age 8.