Vivendi Update

Vivendi CEO says that its future lies in its content and media businesses and that it may announce the sale of its telecom units at its next annual shareholder meeting in April.

Also of note from this article is that the CEO estimates SFR to be worth 20 billion Euros by itself, or approximately $26.22 billion.  That estimate is 5 billion Euros more than the 15 billion Euros I estimated SFR to be worth in my latest sum of the parts valuation on Vivendi.

I think the CEO’s estimate of what SFR is worth is a bit optimistic, but if true that means that with Vivendi’s current market cap at $28.2 billion that the market is currently recognizing that Vivendi’s other assets are only worth a combined $2 billion.  We know this cannot be true because Vivendi’s 60% stake in $ATVI is currently worth $7.44 billion just by itself.  If SFR is really worth 20 billion Euros that means that the market is massively undervaluing Vivendi as a whole.

If I were to apply the CEO’s estimate of SFR’s value to my sum of the parts valuation that brings the value per share of Vivendi up to $42.45 per share, or $28.66 per share after subtracting debt and still not including UMG.

Vivendi’s new CEO may think that SFR is worth 20 billion Euros and as a shareholder I hope they are able to sell it for that price, but I am not counting on it, and I still think Vivendi is undervalued.

An Updated Sum Of The Parts Valuation of Vivendi, Buying More Shares, Also a Brief Update on $CMT

While I am waiting for Dole’s next quarterly report to come out so I can finish my updated valuations and analysis of it, I have been researching some new companies and reanalyzing Vivendi and Core Molding Technologies since new information has come out about both.

After revaluing CMT with updated quarterly numbers it is still selling at a very good discount to my estimate of intrinsic value and I may buy more shares at any time after hearing specifics from CMT management about how Navistar’s problems are affecting it.

When I did my first sum of the parts valuation of Vivendi in July I had no information or very limited information about the values of its subsidiaries: GVT, Canal+, SFR, and Universal Music Group.  Since that time some information has come out about three of those, which has helped clarify the sum of the parts valuation quite a bit.

Vivendi is still seeking to spin off or sell some of the below companies to unlock value in its shares.

  • An estimated sale price for SFR if Vivendi were to find a buyer is at 15 billion Euros
  • Canal+ 20% estimated price that Vivendi does not own has a conservative estimated IPO price of $900 million.  Vivendi owns 80% of Canal+ meaning conservatively its estimated stake in Canal+ has a price of $3.6 billion.
  • Vivendi is seeking 5.5 billion Euros for its 53% stake in Maroc Telecom.  Vivendi’s current 53% stake market price in Maroc Telecom is worth 4.72 billion Euros or $6.02 billion.
  • Vivendi owns 60% of Activision Blizzard which is currently worth $7.44 billion at market.
  • Vivendi is seeking at minimum 7 billion Euros for GVT.
  • I still cannot find any reasonable estimate of value for Universal Music Group so at this point I will still leave this out of my estimates.

Adding all of the above together and converting everything to US Dollars gets us to a total estimated price of $46.13 billion.  Vivendi’s numbers of shares are still 1.242 billion.

  • $46.13/1.242=$37.14 per share.

For the sake of being conservative and assuming that Vivendi will not be able to get the prices it wants from some sales or spin offs of some of the subsidiaries, which is already the case in a couple instances, I will knock off $7.14 from the per share estimate which gets us to an extremely conservative, probably too conservative, value of Vivendi at $30 per share, which still does not even include UMG or Vivendi’s cash and debt.

Here is my original Vivendi article from June for a comparison of the values then and now.

The $30 per share price is an absolute worst case estimate of value.  Today I bought more shares at $19.22 per share for all portfolios that I manage, meaning there is still a 36% margin of safety to my absolute lowest case value of Vivendi, and an almost 50% discount to my more reasonable estimate of value.  Neither of the two estimates even take into account Universal Music Group, Vivendi’s cash, or debt.

Vivendi now makes up about 25% of my personal portfolio.

Dole Update, Closed out partial position in Dole up almost 70% in 104 days

Dole today spiked up more than $2 per share at one point and ended closing today up $1.21 per share or 9.42% on the following news, the quoted text is from The Wall Street Journal Online:

Dole Food Co. Inc. said Wednesday it is in advanced discussions with Japanese trading house Itochu Corp. for the possible sale of its packaged-foods and Asian fresh fruit and vegetable businesses.

The California-based company, said no definitive agreements have been reached, and it continues to be in discussions with several other parties regarding these and other assets.

Dole said it divulged the talks in response to market rumors. Japanese business news provider Nikkei reported that Itochu is poised to purchase the U.S. firm’s businesses for as much as $1.7 billion.

Dole launched a strategic review of its businesses in May after reporting a slump in profits. The company said in July that it was considering a full or partial separation of one or more of its business, including potential spin offs, joint ventures and sales transactions.

Dole’s second-quarter profit fell 21% as the company saw lower fresh-fruit revenue, though sales of fresh vegetables and packaged foods improved.

After the news came out I sold just under half of the position I bought for a couple people’s money that I manage, cost basis around $8.50 per share sold around $14.50 per share, or up around 66% in just over 100 days since I bought it for them.  Here is the link to my first article about Dole that got published on June 13th on Seeking Alpha.

Dole Is Undervalued, Could Be A Winner From Spin-Off Or Asset Sale

I sold about half of the position because most of the margin of safety is gone and I wanted to lock in some profits in case the deal ends up falling through with Itochu.

I kept just over half the position because I valued Dole at the very low end at $18.25 per share and as high as $48.93 per share in June.  I also kept about half of the position because if any of the potential deals do go through then Dole will be able to pay off most, if not all of its massive debt which is Dole’s biggest problem at this time.  Also if it is able to pay off most or all of its debt, it could possibly start to grow its operations which could also help the share price.

Sometime in the near future I am going to start working on an updated Dole article and apply the knowledge and techniques I have learned since the original article.

Until next time.

Dole update, some links, and my plans

Dole

I was planning on doing an entire write up on my thoughts on Dole now that it is up almost 50% since I wrote my articles on it and its competitors, but these two links from the Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha respectively, do a good job of talking about most of what I was going to.  Why is This Insider Buying Shares of Dole?  Top Insider Buys Filed on August 15th.

I wonder what Mr. Murdock knows or expects to happen?  Since July 24th he has bought almost 5 million additional shares and he now controls just fewer than 62% of the company.  I wonder if he is thinking about taking the company private again or if he knows or expects a spin off or asset sale to happen.

In any event, it is usually a good sign to see an insider buying this amount of stock before the company is expected to announce some kind of plan to enhance the value of the company.

In my opinion Dole is still undervalued but it has come a lot closer to my estimate of intrinsic value. The almost 50% appreciation in stock price thus far has come on almost zero news, so I am excited to see what kind of price movement happens when and if Dole announces some kind of spin off or asset sale. The following are the links to my four articles detailing Dole, Chiquita, Fresh Del Monte, and my concluding thoughts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Links

From Farnam Street Blog, @farnamstreet on Twitter who I would highly recommend following, they give some quotes on learning.

From Psychology Today, and tweeted by @favillapsych who I would also recommend following, they give you examples of how geniuses think and how to improve your thinking.  I especially like this portion of the article, which I think is very applicable to the investment world, quoting from the article:

GENIUSES PRODUCE.

A distinguishing characteristic of genius is immense productivity. Thomas Edison held 1,093 patents, still the record. He guaranteed productivity by giving himself and his assistants idea quotas. His own personal quota was one minor invention every 10 days and a major invention every six months. Bach wrote a cantata every week, even when he was sick or exhausted. Mozart produced more than six hundred pieces of music. Einstein is best known for his paper on relativity, but he published 248 other papers. T. S. Elliot’s numerous drafts of “The Waste Land” constitute a jumble of good and bad passages that eventually was turned into a masterpiece. In a study of 2,036 scientists throughout history, Dean Kean Simonton of the University of California, Davis found that the most respected produced not only great works, but also more “bad” ones. Out of their massive quantity of work came quality. Geniuses produce. Period.

From Deloitte, The Persistence Project and its associated articles.  Some of the links are pretty dry, and while I do not necessarily agree with everything they put forward I do think the articles contain some very good information about what makes certain companies great in comparison to others.  Quoting from the site:

Discovering the causes of superior corporate performance

Trying to understand what makes great companies great is the defining quest of popular management research. Sadly, like the quests of great literature – from the grail to the fleece – the search seems endless. Even the most famous and influential efforts at uncovering the causes of enduring success have of late been knocked off their pedestals, and often for good reason. Why should we bother even to try?

Well, if George Mallory wanted to climb Everest because it was there, then, following Thomas Berger, we determined to try our hand at the recipe for persistent superior performance precisely because it isn’t there.

To make any progress, we recognize we’ll have to try a different approach. We’ve begun with advances in statistical techniques to define a unique sample. You can read more about that in our monograph, A Random Search for Excellence.

 

My Plans

I was planning to get right into my 2 week plan that I outlined here a couple days ago, but since my internet was out yesterday I decided to start The Investment Checklist.  On top of hearing that this book is fantastic, I hope it helps me refine my checklists and also helps me figure out a way to more efficiently maximize my research and analysis time.

After I get done reading I will officially start my version of deliberate practice that I talked about the other day.

 

Dole and Vivendi news, Disgusting politicians (again), and “Evidence” of a coming recession

Before I get to some valuations I wanted to post these updates and news stories since it was a busy news day yesterday.

Dole

I thought this article was pretty benign yesterday when I first read it.  It is Dole’s second quarter and strategic review update.  The second quarter about matched the “analysts” expectations and they didn’t really announce anything of major value about the strategic review, quoting:

Strategic Business Review

Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Wells Fargo Securities LLC are assisting the Board of Directors and management in reviewing a number of strategic alternatives. The company is currently evaluating prospective transactions and options for a number of the companys businesses and has been in discussions with numerous third parties who have expressed interest in select businesses. For the worldwide packaged foods business, the company is exploring a possible sale transaction as well as a possible spin-off of this business to current Dole stockholders. The company is also exploring a possible separation of the worldwide packaged foods business in combination with Dole operations in Asia, into a stand-alone, primarily Asia-based company either through a possible joint venture with third parties interested in partnering with Dole or through an initial public offering in Asia. All of these alternatives are intended to enhance shareholder value. The company believes it is on track to achieve one or more of these possible transactions, or any other transaction in connection with the strategic review, by the end of the year. However, there can be no assurances that the company will pursue or complete any of the strategic alternatives that are currently being reviewed or any other transaction. The company intends to disclose developments with respect to the progress, if any, of the strategic review process at such time as the company determines that further disclosure is appropriate or where possible definitive agreement terms require disclosure.

 

They have been saying pretty much the same stuff for a few months now so I was surprised to see this morning that Dole is up more than $1 per share or about 11%.  Glad I bought more shares for some accounts I manage.  Unfortunately, I still have not been able to buy shares for my personal account, waiting for money to be available to put into the account, ugh.

Vivendi

Something surprising from Vivendi came out yesterday also.  This article talks about how Vivendi is allegedly looking to sell GVT, its Brazilian telecom subsidiary.  I was surprised to see this because I remember reading somewhere that they would not sell GVT, that they were planning on building around them.

In my opinion, GVT is the best long term subsidiary for Vivendi, it has the greatest upside potential, it is in a growing country that wants better telecom.  But it also is going to have a lot of expenses due to upgrading their telecom network, which might be one reason why they are looking to sell.

Vivendi must either be getting some pretty good offers for GVT, or they are having a lot of problems selling ATVI.

Disgusting politicians, again

This article is about how Eric Cantor, or someone from his office, changed language in the STOCK Act that was passed in congress earlier this year to stop insider trading on Capitol Hill.

The language that was changed would now make members of the politicians families exempt from the law.  After having this brought to their attention there is now “outrage” and they are now “working to change the law back to what it was originally intended to be.”

Disgusting politicians.

Signs of the coming recession?

First up is an article that talks about how South Korea is going through another banking crisis.

Second is an article that gives “Overwhelming Evidence of a Coming Recession” here in the US.

I will leave it up to you to decide whether you think a recession is coming or not.

Next up will be some of my new valuation techniques I have been learning

Vodafone dividend from Verizon, Microsoft buying Activision, and what I am doing now

Vodafone and the possible dividend from Verizon

This is a fantastic article about the potential special dividend Vodafone might be getting from Verizon.  The article talks about the relationship between the two companies, how big the dividend could be, whether it could become a regular thing, and whether there could be a possible Vodafone/Verizon merger or if Verizon could buy out Vodafone’s 45% stake in them.

What if Microsoft Bought Activision Blizzard?

This article talks about some scenarios that could possibly happen in the video game industry if Microsoft were to buy Activision Blizzard.

What I am doing now

I am currently reading Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies, one of the free books that Csinvesting put on his site, so it will be a few more days until I will be putting up some more valuations.

I have also been learning and applying some of the different valuation techniques from the Manual of Ideas to some of the stocks I have already written about, and will post some of them after I finish reading Valuation.

I can’t wait to start diving into some more annual reports and finding another company to evaluate, as this book is so far kind of a let down. Valuation is a good book so far, about a quarter of the way through it, but a lot of the stuff I have already learned from Damodaran’s free valuation course, Bruce Greenwald’s books, and from various other books I have read.  So far up to where I have read in the book, it is almost exclusively talking about how to do DCF valuations, which I don’t do, with a little bit of strategy mixed in, and how companies with high ROIC are better investments than lower ROIC companies.

Until next time.

Shifting gears, Dole news, and my latest article published

Shifting Gears

Recently I have been concentrating pretty heavily on trying to find, assess, and value new companies that I could invest in.  I am now going to be shifting gears for a bit to expand my knowledge.

The Manual of Ideas that I posted about a few days ago, and the 32 free books from csinvesting are amazing,  I am most of the way through the MoI free publication and the information in it is incredible.

I am going to be studying specifically from the MoI publication the valuation techniques that they go over, try to learn them, revalue some of the companies I have already valued, and incorporate some of them into my valuation techniques.

When I feel comfortable with the new techniques I will post some of the new valuations here, and see if that changes my assumptions on some of the stocks I have already talked about.

After I finish up with the MoI, I am going to start one of the free books that I downloaded yesterday from csinvesting’s site, so it will probably be a little while before I look for a new company to evaluate.

In the meantime I will still be posting any news I find on companies I own, my random thoughts, and any new, good information I find from websites and blogs.

Dole News

The first article talks about the best and worst boards in the country, Dole came out as one of the worst.  The main reason being that Dole, being majority owned by one person, is not a very transparent company.

The second article is another article, from another analyst, saying that if Dole decides to do some kind of asset sale or spin off they could be worth $16 a share, and talks about how the packaged fruit business has amazing margins. I have specifically talked about all of this in my article here.  So why am I posting this?  Because stated in the article from Dole CEO David DeLorenzo “Our goal would be to accomplish something by the end of this year. We have come across some opportunities that, if we are able to execute, would be good for both the packaged foods business and the commodities business.” That is new news.  Emphasis is mine.

For those who are interested in the company, which I am, it looks like we have the rest of this year to accumulate shares before they announce anything on the spin off or asset sale front.

Latest article posted

My latest article, on L.B. Foster, has been posted to Seeking Alpha and can be viewed here, for those who want to follow the discussion in the comments section.

Minority Report, Batman tech, and a few good articles on stocks I have written about

Minority Report and Batman Tech

This first article is kind of scary and the people who developed it must not have watched Minority Report.  Clip is 10 minutes.

There is a new program that cops are using under the name PredPol, that is supposed to predict crime.

Very scary in my opinion due to where it could lead.  It will only be a matter of time until something exactly like what was used in Minority Report is being used.

The article also talks about other tech that cops could be using in the near future.  The one that caught my eye is “A ShotSpotter system uses microphones positioned around a city to detect gunshots and triangulate their location within 40 to 50 feet. A human at ShotSpotter’s headquarters confirms if it’s a gunshot and alerts the police. The system starts at $40,000 for every square mile of coverage.”  Sounds like this from Batman.  The clip is just over a minute long and I think they should heed Fox’s words from the movie.

Stock articles and valuations on stocks I own from others.

The first stock article talks about how Vodafone might be getting another big dividend from Verizon and what Vodafone might do if they get the dividend.

The second stock article goes over three value stocks and talks about their growth characteristics.  One of the stocks he talks about is Dole.  While I generally agree with his assessment that Dole could be worth upwards of $16 if there is some kind of spin off or asset sale, I think he is downplaying the risk from the debt which I talked about in my article on Dole.

He also talks about Forest Oil and NVR.  Both look like opportunities that should be researched.  Here is an amazing analysis on NVR from 2001 that I originally got from csinvesting’s site.  I also recommend reading the comments section here for more on NVR from 2001.  Read his analysis carefully and the discussion in the comments section.  The way he thinks about things, his reasonings for buying, and how he researches are to be learned from.

The third article talks about Fresh Del Monte, Dole, and Chiquita.  In my opinion this is a very good analysis and includes some if the reasons I will look to buy FDP when the stock price drops.  Here is my article comparing the three companies.

Alexander and Baldwin: Post spin off analysis and valuation

In my previous article on Alexander and Baldwin, I got into the valuation and analysis of the combined Alexander and Baldwin (ALEX) and Matson (MATX) companies.

In this article I will detail the post spin ALEX, value and analyze the company and, determine if I will be a buyer now.  I will be using newer, and I think better estimates of the land value.

I will also assess and value the non-landholdings of the company.  I will value the buildings they own and their potential value through either sale or rent.  I will also talk about the Agribusiness portion of the company which farms, produces, and sells sugar cane.  The Agribusiness also produces power for some of the land they own.  For a discussion of ALEX in general either view my article listed above or the company website here.

I am now going to detail their individual businesses a bit before the valuations.

Alexander & Baldwin, through its real estate subsidiary A&B Properties Inc., develops and sells real property, primarily in Hawaii, and operates a commercial portfolio comprising nearly 8 million square feet of retail, office and industrial space comprising 45 properties located in Hawaii and in eight states on the U.S. Mainland. A&B Properties also owns over 88,000 acres of land, primarily on the islands of Maui and Kauai.

Much of the landholdings on Maui are farmed by Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S). On Kauai, McBryde Resources, Inc. leases our 4,000-acre coffee plantation to an international, vertically-integrated coffee company. Both HC&S and McBryde are significant renewable energy producers, generating over 200,000 megawatt hours of electricity from renewable energy in 2011.  Taken from their website here, where you can also go for more information.  Also here is a link for pre-spin ALEX’s annual and quarterly reports.

Valuations done on July 4th 2012.  These valuations are done by me, using my estimates, and are not a recommendation to buy the stock.  Do your own homework.

ALEX own 8,000,000 square feet of commercial, industrial, and retail buildings that I am conservatively valuing at $100 a square foot.  ALEX could also rent out their properties conservatively for $1 a square foot per month.

  • 8,000,000 X 100=$800,000,000 in potential building value through sale.
  • Or 1 X 8,000,000=$8,000,000 in rent per month from renting the properties.  $8,000,000 X 12 months =$96,000,000 per year in potential rents earned.

ALEX also owns 88,000 acres of land.  However, after doing some further research I now know that 36,000 of that is used in the growing, producing, and selling of sugar cane, and at this time would likely not be sold.

Valuing of the land:

  • 88,000 X $6,000=$528,000,000 potential value of all the land.
  • 88,000-36,000=52,000 acres of land after taking out the land for sugar cane production.
  • 52,000 X $6,000=$312,000,000

If you read my previous article you might have noticed that I upped the per acre price from $5,000 to $6,000 per acre.  I did that because Larry Ellison recently bought 88,000 acres of land in Hawaii for approximately $500 million, which comes out to a per acre price of $5,682 per acre.  I upped  it a bit higher than his price per acre because most of the land ALEX owns in on Maui and Kauai, presumably higher priced locations.  However, I left the price per acre pretty low and am still likely undervaluing the land because I am no Hawaiian real estate expert and I want to be as conservative as possible.

  • Number of shares are 42 million.
  • 800,000,000 + 528,000,000=$1.328 billion
  • 1328/42 =$31.62 per share.
  • 800,000,000+ 312,000,00=$1.112 billion
  • 1112/42=$26.48 per share.

The $26.48 per share is not including income from sugar cane acreage, production, and sale.  It is not including power production and sale.  The $26.48 per share is just including the 52,000 acres of land that could be sold and the conservative potential of all buildings.  They also have a conservative potential of $96 million incoming rent from those properties if they keep them.

A more moderate to high valuation.

In place of the $1 per square foot per month that was used in the above valuation now we are going to use $2 per square foot per month X 8,000,000 = $16,000,000 per month.  Times that by 12 months to get $192,000,000 in potential rental income per year.

Replacing the $100 per square foot sale price above, we are now going to assume a $200 per square foot sale price.

  • 8,000,000X200=$1.6 billion

Still leaving out the sugar cane acreage above and using the same dollar amount for that land potential you get.

  • 1.6 billion + 312 million=$1.912 billion
  • 1912/42=$45.52 per share.

Again the $45.52 per share is not including the things talked about at the end of the first valuation.

In my opinion ALEX should either sell off or start developing some more of the 88,000 acres of land.  I also think they should keep leasing their buildings because that is huge potential cash flow every year.

Since I am a very conservative investor I use very conservative numbers in my valuations.  I am most likely undervaluing the land at least a little bit, and the buildings probably a little bit more than I should.  However, since I am no Hawaiian real estate expert I need a good margin of safety.  I usually like at the very least a 30% margin of safety and preferably a 50% margin of safety.  I generally use the lowest value I get as my base case, this time the $26.48 per share.   Thus not getting me the margin of safety I need.

Stating that, I still will not be buying into the post-spin ALEX, especially after the stock is up about 30% in the past three trading sessions.  I will continue to research ALEX and I will be waiting for my opportunity when the price goes down.  I am still very intrigued by the land that they own and the potential rental income from the buildings they own.

I did not talk about margins because I am waiting for the 10Q of the new ALEX before I make any judgements on those.  However, if the company is overpriced, like I think this one currently is, I still would not buy even if the margins are great.

I did not talk about the sugar cane and power production portions of the business much because I do not want to count future, highly uncertain earnings from a commodity type business.  I only want to count things that are a little bit more certain like land prices and building prices into this valuation.  Probably a bit too conservative but I want to be safe.  The rest of the company is just icing on the cake to me.

As always feedback is welcome.

China news, More Vivendi News and a look at the overall gaming industry.

Found some interesting and disconcerting news on China this weekend.

The first article, here,  talks about a potential “Hard Landing” for the Chinese economy and some of the reasons.  It also has other links throughout the page discussing China and some of their current and future problems in their economy.  Very interesting reads.

The second article is to me the more important one because I found something very disturbing in it.  In general it talks about how China’s PMI keeps dropping and how it looks like the Chinese economy keeps slowing.  PMI is a measure of the level of manufacturing and is further explained here.

About half way through the Fox Business article is the disturbing part though:

To shore up growth, Beijing lowered interest rates once and reduced banks’ reserve requirement ratio [RRR] twice this year.

Traders said on Friday they anticipate the central bank to lower banks’ RRR soon to ease a recent liquidity squeeze, triggered by regulatory requirements and a large initial public offer.

Isn’t that how the economic bubble and housing crisis started here in the US by lowering interest rates and reserve requirements for banks?  The US government and Federal Reserve started allowing banks to lower their reserve requirements, meaning they had less cash on hand, in order to encourage more lending, leading to more speculation, and the eventual crash.  Not a good sign in my opinion.

More Vivendi and Activision Blizzard news.  Also an overview of the overall video game industry:

The first article here, talks about ATVI and in his opinion that the video game industry is in decline.

The second article is a more in depth discussion of the overall video game industry.

I would also encourage everyone to read the comments sections of both articles as there is a good discussion, and opposing views to what the article states.

The third article is a different perspective on Vivendi from another contributor on Seeking Alpha.

If anyone has thoughts on any of the above articles please feel free to post.  Enjoy.