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.

Vivendi sale of ATVI update

Headline on Seeking Alpha this morning: Vivendi (VIVHY.PK) is reportedly shelving plans to find a buyer for its $8B, 61% stake in Activision (ATVI -5.7%), after its initial efforts failed to draw interest. Many have doubted a buyer would emerge, given the size of the stake and concerns about the gaming industry’s health. The news comes as Activision sells off on account of its Q2 report, as strong sales of Skylanders merchandise are outweighed by tepid guidance and a major drop in World of Warcraft subs.

Here is another article from Forbes on the situation as well.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2012/08/03/vivendi-reportedly-back-off-plans-to-sell-activision-stake/

Interested to see what they decide to do now.

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

More Activision Blizzard and Vivendi news, and a Warning from the CFA Institute

More Vivendi and Activision Blizzard news

I thought this article was interesting, mainly because I have never thought of this possibility.  The article talks about how Activision Blizzard could buy its own shares back from Vivendi, instead of Vivendi spinning off or selling ATVI to a third-party.  It speculates that because Vivendi is having trouble selling Activision, and since ATVI has about $3 billion in cash and almost no debt that they could finance the rest of the transaction.

To me this makes zero sense from both companies perspectives.

  • For Vivendi they would most likely not get the premium on the shares that they are looking for, meaning they would not be able to pay down their debt to the levels they would want.
  • For Activision this would mean they would lower their cash hoard, and have to leverage up their balance sheet just to make the transaction happen.  Seems like a loser to me on all accounts.

I am interested to see if anyone has any differing thoughts on this possibility.

Here is an overview of the gaming industry and the profitability of each company.

Three things surprised me about this graphic: 1) That Gamestop is making as much money as they are.  2) That ATVI was behind Nintendo, Namco Bandai, Sega, and only slightly ahead of EA in terms of profits. 3) That Zynga is making over $1 billion in profits.  Most of their games are free to play on Facebook aren’t they?  I do not know much about Zynga, I have never played any of its games, and only heard of a couple of them, so if anyone else has information on them could you please let me know.

A Warning from the CFA Institute

This article talks about decision making errors that could be hurting your investment performance and talks about five active thinking strategies.  Some pretty interesting thoughts.

My next post will be a mini review of Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies

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.

Cove Street Capital and an article on Activision Blizzard that has an opposing view to mine

Cove Street Capital

I found this site on csinvesting’s site, yet again.  So far I have read through a few of the links that CS has posted from Cove Street Capital’s site and thought I would share this site with you.  I cannot vouch for the accuracy or quality of research done, since I have not researched the companies that he talks about, at least what little I have looked into so far.

However, I decided to put it up here because the way Cove Street thinks about the companies, the industry they are in, and how they outline their investment thesis is impressive, and could be something to learn from, an example is here.  I will continue to look through the site to see if I see anything else that stands out.

Activision Blizzard article

Here is a pretty good article about Activision Blizzard and their future prospects.    I do not really like how he mainly talks in generalities, but he does go over ATVI’s gaming properties very well and lays out a decent bull case for the company.  He also does not value the company.

I wanted to put this on the blog mainly because it is an opposite opinion that what I laid out in my article on Vivendi here.  It is always a good thing to seek out differing opinions than the ones you have.  Not only might you learn something, you might also see something in the analysis that you might have missed.

Hope you enjoy

Moats, Vivendi having trouble selling ATVI, and tips from Leon Cooperman

Moats

Finding companies that are undervalued and have a moat, or competitive advantage, is a winning combination for value investors.  Determining if a company has a moat can be difficult, and finding a company that has a long term competitive advantage can be even harder.  Here is an article from morningstar.com that talks about moats, and gives you some examples so that we can learn how to spot them.

Vivendi having problems finding buyers for Activison Blizzard

I have thought for a while now that Vivendi would have difficulty finding a buyer for Activision Blizzard, this article only confirms my suspicions.  So far it looks like Microsoft and Disney have said no to buying ATVI.  If they cannot find a buyer, then they will either sell the shares on the open market or do some kind of spin off of ATVI.

Leon Cooperman

Leon Cooperman, who founded Omega Advisors investment fund in 1991, and who is now worth $2 billion, gives his tips on how to succeed in business, and how to become a better investment advisor.

I hope you enjoy.

An Amazing Free Offer, More Vivendi News, and Investing Lessons from a stock up almost 1500% since 2002

Free offer from the Manualofideas.com

The Manual of Ideas put out a free offer of their monthly publication.  I had never heard of them before but the information in the free publication is incredible.  Manual of Ideas gives investing ideas, goes over valuation and analysis of those companies, giving three different valuations of the companies, talks about the risks of the company going forward, and shows you holdings of top hedge fund managers that you could get more ideas from.

At the very least I highly recommend that you should download the free publication to get some ideas to research, and look at how they value and analyze companies to see what we could all be doing better and what we might be missing from our analysis.

Too bad that if you like MoI, which I do a lot, is pretty expensive if you want to subscribe to it.  The price for one year of subscription to the regular monthly publication is just under $1300.

I will learn from the free publication and when I am able to start my own firm or work for someone else, this is going to be one of the first things I buy to get ideas from.

More Vivendi News

This article on Vivendi again talks about which of their businesses they should sell or spin-off and lists some of the companies that they are talking with about the potential sale.

The main thing that caught my eye is that they are talking with Microsoft to see if they are interested in buying Activision Blizzard.

Any reasonable sale of ATVI would be good for Vivendi shareholders.  However, the only way Microsoft buying ATVI could be good for the console gaming industry would be if it meant some kind of gaming merger between the Playstation and Xbox brands, eventually leading to a one console future, and the gamers winning out.

Most likely though, if Microsoft were to buy ATVI that would probably lead to Sony having to buy EA, and each company trying to acquire the best gaming companies they could to keep them out of the hands of the other.  A very bad scenario for the gamers.

Sony and Microsoft have been pretty antagonistic to each other over the past decade when it has come to their consoles, so although I hope there is some kind of console merger with a one console future, at this time I do not see that happening.

Lessons from a 15-bagger

This article is from the Motley Fool and goes over some of the original reasons they bought Amazon in 2002 and how since then the stock is up almost 1500%.

Any stock pick that goes up by that amount should be analyzed and learned from.

Feel free to post your thoughts.  Enjoy

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.