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U.S. For-Profit Education Stocks:A “Magic Formula” Approach<br />Oliver Mihaljevic<br />The Manual of Ideas<br />www.manua...
“Magic Formula” —A Brief Review<br />
Selected Value-oriented Idea Generation Approaches (That We Like)<br />“Magic Formula“<br /><ul><li>Advocated by Joel Gree...
“Good” and “cheap” stocks
Earnings-based</li></ul>Sum-of-the-parts<br /><ul><li>A staple approach of “activists”
Investment case often rests on monetizing non-core and/or excess assets
Earnings- and/or asset-based</li></ul>“Net-Nets” (and other<br />   balance sheet plays)<br /><ul><li>Advocated by Ben Graham
(Current assets minus total liabilities) > market value
Asset-based</li></ul>Other Approaches<br /><ul><li>Equity “stubs”
Turnarounds
Spinoffs
“Jockey” stocks</li></ul>3<br />
Magic Formula: What Is It?<br />Stock-screening methodology <br /><ul><li>Popularized by Joel Greenblatt in The Little Boo...
“Good”: Trailing EBIT / Capital employed</li></ul>Goal:Pay a low price for companies likely to reinvest capital at high ra...
Magic Formula: Why We Like It?<br />It works: <br /><ul><li>Performance vs. S&P 500 Index, 1999-2011*
Advocated by Joel Greenblatt
Makes Sense
Simple
Will Continue to Work (institutional imperatives, emotional bias)</li></ul>* Data from 1999-2008 reflects the net performa...
6<br />Magic Formula: Recent Selections<br />Top 30 companies with $500+ million of market value<br />(based on July 1, 20...
Magic Formula: Evaluating the Selections<br />Key questions:<br /><ul><li>Are high returns on capital sustainable?  “Moat...
Evaluating the Selections: For-Profit Education<br /><ul><li>Are high returns on capital sustainable?
Questionable due to regulatory risk: most companies derive 80%+ of revenue from Title IV* federal student financial aid (t...
Growing industry?
Yes, but regulatory changes could impede growth (“gainful employment” rule; regulations related to recruitment, marketing ...
Evaluating the Selections: Other Companies<br />Amedisys: 80+% of revenue from Medicare – regulatory threats<br />Comtech:...
(Unlikely) Winners from Past Magic Formula Screens<br />10<br />McGraw-Hill (MHP; $13 billion market value)<br /><ul><li>S...
Magic Formula: Conclusions<br />It works.<br />For-profit education stocks score highly…<br />…but are easy to dismiss as ...
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Why The 'Magic Formula' Favors For-Profit Education Stocks

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Transcript of "Why The 'Magic Formula' Favors For-Profit Education Stocks"

  1. 1. U.S. For-Profit Education Stocks:A “Magic Formula” Approach<br />Oliver Mihaljevic<br />The Manual of Ideas<br />www.manualofideas.com<br />Value Investing Seminar Italy<br />July 13, 2011<br />
  2. 2. “Magic Formula” —A Brief Review<br />
  3. 3. Selected Value-oriented Idea Generation Approaches (That We Like)<br />“Magic Formula“<br /><ul><li>Advocated by Joel Greenblatt
  4. 4. “Good” and “cheap” stocks
  5. 5. Earnings-based</li></ul>Sum-of-the-parts<br /><ul><li>A staple approach of “activists”
  6. 6. Investment case often rests on monetizing non-core and/or excess assets
  7. 7. Earnings- and/or asset-based</li></ul>“Net-Nets” (and other<br /> balance sheet plays)<br /><ul><li>Advocated by Ben Graham
  8. 8. (Current assets minus total liabilities) > market value
  9. 9. Asset-based</li></ul>Other Approaches<br /><ul><li>Equity “stubs”
  10. 10. Turnarounds
  11. 11. Spinoffs
  12. 12. “Jockey” stocks</li></ul>3<br />
  13. 13. Magic Formula: What Is It?<br />Stock-screening methodology <br /><ul><li>Popularized by Joel Greenblatt in The Little Book That Beats The Market (2005)</li></ul>Ranks companies based on two factors (equal-weight):<br /><ul><li>“Cheap”: Trailing EBIT / EV
  14. 14. “Good”: Trailing EBIT / Capital employed</li></ul>Goal:Pay a low price for companies likely to reinvest capital at high rates of return.<br />4<br />
  15. 15. Magic Formula: Why We Like It?<br />It works: <br /><ul><li>Performance vs. S&P 500 Index, 1999-2011*
  16. 16. Advocated by Joel Greenblatt
  17. 17. Makes Sense
  18. 18. Simple
  19. 19. Will Continue to Work (institutional imperatives, emotional bias)</li></ul>* Data from 1999-2008 reflects the net performance of the Formula Investing Model Portfolio. 1999 data is from October 1, 1999 through December 31, 1999. Data since 2009 reflects the Formula Investing U.S. Value Direct Composite returns (net) of actual accounts. 2009 data is from May 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009. Data from January 1, 2009 through April 30, 2009 is not available. However, it appears the “magic formula” outperformed in that four-month period, as the Model Portfolio was up 46% while the S&P 500 Index was up 19% from January 1, 2009 through September 30, 2009. Year-to-date 2011 performance numbers are for the period from January 1, 2011 through May 31, 2011. Source: Formula Investing, www.formulainvesting.com<br />5<br />
  20. 20. 6<br />Magic Formula: Recent Selections<br />Top 30 companies with $500+ million of market value<br />(based on July 1, 2011 share prices, sorted by company name)*<br />* Source: www.magicformulainvesting.com<br />
  21. 21. Magic Formula: Evaluating the Selections<br />Key questions:<br /><ul><li>Are high returns on capital sustainable?  “Moat”</li></ul>Some issues to address: cyclicality, technological change, customer value proposition, fads, threats to key revenue source/business model (e.g. regulatory-driven)<br /><ul><li>Does the business operate in a growing industry? </li></ul>  High return reinvestment opportunities<br />7<br />
  22. 22. Evaluating the Selections: For-Profit Education<br /><ul><li>Are high returns on capital sustainable?
  23. 23. Questionable due to regulatory risk: most companies derive 80%+ of revenue from Title IV* federal student financial aid (threat to key revenue source!).
  24. 24. Growing industry?
  25. 25. Yes, but regulatory changes could impede growth (“gainful employment” rule; regulations related to recruitment, marketing and other business practices).</li></ul>For-profit education stocks are easy to dismiss…<br />8<br />* Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 covers the administration of federal aid to students.<br />
  26. 26. Evaluating the Selections: Other Companies<br />Amedisys: 80+% of revenue from Medicare – regulatory threats<br />Comtech: losing ~50% of revenue as U.S. Army contracts expire<br />Deluxe: paper check provider – rise of payment cards, e-banking<br />Forest Labs:branded pharma – 2012 patent expiry, “Obamacare”<br />SanDisk:tech obsolescence, pricing pressure in data storage<br />Microsoft: software model under attack from “cloud” computing<br />Dell: desktop PCs, laptops under attack from netbooks, tablets<br />H&R Block: paper filings in decline, share gains by Intuit, Internet<br />…other companies are also easy to dismiss.<br />9<br />
  27. 27. (Unlikely) Winners from Past Magic Formula Screens<br />10<br />McGraw-Hill (MHP; $13 billion market value)<br /><ul><li>Shares traded at $24 when featured in the September 2009 “Magic Formula” issue of The Manual of Ideas; Einhorn’s Greenlight shorted MHP due to regulatory risks at Standard & Poor’s; recent price: $42.</li></ul>Metropolitan Health Networks (MDF; $190 million market value)<br /><ul><li>Shares traded at ~$2.20 when featured in the September 2009 “Magic Formula” issue of The Manual of Ideas; Metropolitan’s revenue is dependent on Medicare Advantage funding; recent price: ~$4.50.</li></ul>Travelzoo (TZOO; $1.3 billion market value)<br /><ul><li>Shares traded at $5 when featured in the November 2008 “Magic Formula” issue of The Manual of Ideas; the online travel-related company faced declining demand due to economic weakness; recent price: $70.</li></ul>All three would have been easy to dismiss.<br />
  28. 28. Magic Formula: Conclusions<br />It works.<br />For-profit education stocks score highly…<br />…but are easy to dismiss as investments.<br />Other Magic Formula stocks are also “easily dismissed.”<br />Past “winners” would have also been easy to dismiss.<br />11<br />
  29. 29. U.S. For-Profit Education Stocks—“Value Traps” orTypical “Magic Formula” Candidates?<br />
  30. 30. Dismissed by the Market, But not by the “Magic Formula” <br />13<br />Example: Corinthian Colleges (COCO): May 2009 – July 2011<br />(selected events and share price reaction)<br />
  31. 31. U.S. For-Profit Education: Recent Valuation<br />14<br />EV-to-trailing EBIT of less than 5x for selected companies <br />implies an undemanding valuation even if <br />“normalized” EBIT is 50% lower than trailing EBIT<br />1 Trailing twelve months refers to the twelve months ended March 31, 2011, except for Apollo (ended February 28, 2011).<br />2 Based on P/E ratios implied by the average of analyst EPS estimates as of July 8, 2011. All EPS estimates are for calendar 2012, except for Apollo (FY ended August 2012), Corinthian (FY ended June 2012), and DeVry (FY ended June 2012).<br />3 Trailing EBIT excludes impairment of goodwill/intangibles (and, at Apollo only, estimated litigation losses).<br />
  32. 32. U.S. For-Profit Education: The ”Bear” Case*<br />“Classic Value Trap” (Jim Chanos, Kynikos):<br /><ul><li>Stocks look cheap
  33. 33. Structural issues
  34. 34. Business funded by government largesse in the form of student loans (risk resides with taxpayer and student)
  35. 35. Questionable educational outcomes
  36. 36. Business fundamentals in decline
  37. 37. Title IV federal student loan funding well “drying up”
  38. 38. New regulations holding companies accountable in relation to “gainful employment” and other performance/integrity criteria
  39. 39. Declining new student enrollment
  40. 40. Revenue pressure, negative earnings leverage, w/c issues</li></ul>15<br />* Based on the presentation from James Chanos, Kynikos Associates, at VALUEx Vail (June 16, 2011).<br />
  41. 41. The ”Bear” Case: In Print <br />16<br />“U.S. senator lashes out at for-profit education” <br />- Reuters, Aug 4, 2010 <br />“Enrollment Drop Hammers For-Profit Education Sector” <br />- Forbes, 10 Jan 2011 <br />“For-Profit Education: Classic Value Trap” <br />- James Chanos, 16 Jun 2011 <br />“For-Profit Schools Under Fire, Stocks Down Nearly 30 Percent for the Year” <br />- CNBC, 17 Dec 2010 <br />“For-Profit Colleges Under Growing Scrutiny.” <br />- WSJ, 27 May 2011 <br />“For-Profit Colleges Mislead Students, Report Finds” <br />- NYT, 3 Aug 2010 <br />
  42. 42. Before We Declare the Business Model Dead (and the Stocks Zeroes), Consider…<br />17<br />Impact of the "gainful employment" rule enacted on June 2, 2011 <br />(as estimated by the U.S. Department of Education)<br />Only 5% of for-profit programs <br />are to lose eligibility by 2015!<br />“The Department believes that institutions will strengthen their educational programs to meet these higher standards, and relatively few programs will fail.”<br />- Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 113 / Monday, June 13, 2011 / Rules and Regulations / 34390<br />
  43. 43. “Gainful Employment” Rule: Not a Red Card for the For-Profit Industry!<br />Programs must pass at least one of the three metrics to remain eligible for federal student aid funding:<br /><ul><li>Repayment rate: At least 35% of loans (dollar-based) are being repaid (a $1 decline in the loan balance per year suffices!).
  44. 44. Debt‐to‐total earnings ratio: The annual loan payment may not exceed 12% of typical graduates’ total earnings.
  45. 45. Debt‐to‐discretionary income ratio: The annual loan payment may not exceed 30% of typical graduates’ discretionary income.
  46. 46. To lose eligibility, programs must fail measures in 3 out of 4 years. </li></ul>Final rule “watered down” from initial proposals<br /><ul><li>First programs become ineligible in 2015 (not 2012).
  47. 47. No enrollment growth restrictions.
  48. 48. Debt payment timelines extended up to 20 years (not 10 years)
  49. 49. Emphasis on giving schools the “opportunity to improve”</li></ul>18<br />
  50. 50. Lenient Regulation? Sounds Familiar…<br />Selected regulated industries <br />that are alive and kicking after left for dead by some:<br />Rating agencies<br />Sell-side equity research and banking in general<br />Gulf of Mexico oil drillers<br />Health insurers<br />For-profit education companies?<br />19<br />
  51. 51. Structural Issues: The Other Side of the Coin<br />88 million U.S. adults are without a college degree (67% of population above age 25).1<br />33 million U.S. adults above age 25 have some college experience, but no degree.1<br />Current estimates show a shortfall of 13-16 million graduates to meet goals of the Obama Administration.2<br />20<br />Private sector is needed <br />to achieve U.S. educational goals.<br />1 Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), March 2009.<br />2 Source: National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.<br />
  52. 52. For-Profit Education: Here to Stay<br />Sizeable: 10%+ of total U.S. postsecondary students attend for-profit colleges (up from ~3% in 2000). There are ~4 million students in for-profit education programs.<br />Needed to achieve U.S. educational goals: Current estimates show a shortfall of 13-16 million graduates to meet Obama’s goals by 2020.<br />Benefits from political expedience: Politicians are unlikely to throw millions of students on the street by cutting for-profit funding; for-profit education has an effective lobby and many (voting) students and teachers (90,000+ parties submitted comments on the proposed Dept. of Education rules; 75% opposed the rules).<br />Tough to attack: Many for-profit students are minorities or people who otherwise would not get an education. Outcomes are difficult to assess. As public schools may not be doing better, crucifying for-profits may expose bigger waste in the system.<br />Not the first government-funded sector with questionable outcomes/practices: See healthcare, defense contracting, recent bailouts etc.<br />21<br />
  53. 53. The Economy Factor<br />Educational outcomes difficult to judge in the weak economy of 2009/10.Like in many other industries, bad practices were exposed during weak economic times. But that does not mean the entire industry is a fraud. Job placements and student loan repayment rates have cyclical elements.<br />Student loan repayments are likely to improve as the economy gets better and unemployment reduces over time.<br />Recent economic weakness may explain regulators’ multi-year approach when testing programs’ performance and eligibility for future funding. This gives companies time to adapt and improve.<br />22<br />
  54. 54. From “Bear” Case to “Base” Case<br />Potential "base" case for selected companies that screen highly on TTM EBIT/EV:<br />23<br />Assumes revenue at 20% below the TTM revenue level(industry new student starts declined an estimated ~20% y-y, on average, in 1Q11)1<br />In-line or below the average ~10% EBIT margin of the U.S. defense industry — another government-funded sector2<br />Estimated intrinsic values are modestly higher than recent market values<br />11Q11 new student starts: CECO (-14% y-y); COCO (-22% y-y); LINC (-39% y-y). The industry figure is estimated based on new student starts of <br />the three featured companies, in addition to Apollo, Bridgepoint, Capella, DeVry, Grand Canyon, ITT, and Strayer. <br />2EBIT margins (TTM/5-year average): CECO (16%/10%); COCO (9%/7%); LINC (18%/12%). Trailing EBIT margins at CECO and COCO exclude <br />the impairment of goodwill/intangibles. The defense industry EBIT margin of ~10% is based on the five-year average operating margins for Northrop <br />Grumman, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Boeing for 2006-10.<br />
  55. 55. Potential “Bull” Case?<br />24<br />Potential “bull" case for selected companies that screen highly on TTM EBIT/EV:<br />Assumes revenue at 10% below the revenue level of the trailing twelve months<br />In-line or modestly above the average ~10% EBIT margin of the U.S. defense industry — another government-funded sector<br />Estimated intrinsic values are significantly higher than recent market values<br />Recent market valuations leave <br />significant upside potential for selected stocks.<br />
  56. 56. Some Last Thoughts and Facts<br />Bridgepoint’s new student starts grew 13% y-y in the March quarter.<br />Most for-profit education companies have strong balance sheets and are buying back shares.<br />Valuations are diverging (Corinthian’s EV-to-trailing adjusted EBIT is ~3x versus Strayer and DeVry at ~8x). Potential for M&A?<br />Internet-focused companies have inherently scalable, high-margin models, which may not change drastically with increased regulation.<br />Intriguing non-U.S. opportunities (e.g. Apollo/Carlyle JV in the U.K.).<br />Increasing entry barriers due to regulatory scrutiny? <br />25<br />
  57. 57. For-Profit Education: Conclusions<br />Typical “Magic Formula” Candidates<br />“Bear Case” May Have Run Its Course<br />Current Risk-Reward Appears Attractive for Specific Candidates (or for a “Basket” Approach)<br />“Magic Formula” Beats Shorting!<br />26<br />
  58. 58. Resources and Contact Information<br /><ul><li>Magic Formula
  59. 59. Joel Greenblatt: “The Little Book That Beats The Market”
  60. 60. www.magicformulainvesting.com
  61. 61. www.formulainvesting.com</li></ul>U.S. For-Profit Education<br /><ul><li>Bear case: Jim Chanos at Ira Sohn (May 2009) and VALUEx Vail (June 2011); Steve Eisman at Ira Sohn (May 2010)
  62. 62. Bull case: Case Study—University of Phoenix, Nexus Research & Policy Center (August 2010)</li></ul>The Manual of Ideas<br /><ul><li>www.manualofideas.com
  63. 63. oliver@manualofideas.com</li></ul>27<br />
  64. 64. © 2008-’11 by BeyondProxy LLC. All rights reserved. All content is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws and is the property of BeyondProxyand any third-party providers of such content. The U.S. Copyright Act imposes liability of up to $150,000 for each act of willful infringement of a copyright.<br />THE MANUAL OF IDEAS is published monthly by BeyondProxy. Subscribers may download content to their computer and store and print materials for their individual use only. Any other reproduction, transmission, display or editing of the content by any means, mechanical or electronic, without the prior written permission of BeyondProxyis strictly prohibited.<br />Terms of use: Use of this presentation and its content is governed by the Terms of Use described in detail at www.manualofideas.com. For your convenience, a summary of certain key policies, disclosures and disclaimers is reproduced below. This summary is meant in no way to limit or otherwise circumscribe the full scope and effect of the complete Terms of Use.<br />Contact information: For all customer service, subscription or other inquiries, please visit www.manualofideas.com, or contact us at BeyondProxy, 427 N Tatnall St #27878, Wilmington, DE 19801-2230; telephone: 415-412-8059.<br />Editor-in-chief: John Mihaljevic, CFA.<br />Annual subscription price: $1,285 and up; for detailed information, visit www.manualofideas.com/pmr.html<br />To subscribe, visit www.manualofideas.com/pmr.html<br />General Publication Information and Terms of Use:<br />No Investment Advice<br />This presentation is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security in any jurisdiction where such an offer or solicitation would be illegal. This presentation is distributed for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice or a recommendation to sell or buy any security or other investment, or undertake any investment strategy. It does not constitute a general or personal recommendation or take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situations, or needs of individual investors. The price and value of securities referred to in this presentation will fluctuate. Past performance is not a guide to future performance, future returns are not guaranteed, and a loss of all of the original capital invested in a security discussed in this presentation may occur. Certain transactions, including those involving futures, options, and other derivatives, give rise to substantial risk and are not suitable for all investors.<br />Disclaimers<br />There are no warranties, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness, or results obtained from any information set forth in this presentation. BeyondProxywill not be liable to you or anyone else for any loss or injury resulting directly or indirectly from the use of the information contained in this presentation, caused in whole or in part by its negligence in compiling, interpreting, reporting or delivering the content in this presentation.<br />Related Persons<br />BeyondProxy’s officers, directors, employees and/or principals (collectively “Related Persons”) may have positions in and may, from time to time, make purchases or sales of the securities or other investments discussed or evaluated in this presentation. John Mihaljevic, Chairman of BeyondProxy, is also a principal of Mihaljevic Capital Management LLC (“MCM”), which serves as the general partner of a private investment partnership. MCM may purchase or sell securities and financial instruments discussed in this presentation on behalf of the investment partnership or other accounts it manages. It is the policy of MCM and all Related Persons to allow a full trading day to elapse after the publication of this presentation before purchases or sales of any securities or financial instruments discussed herein are made.<br />Compensation<br />BeyondProxy receives compensation in connection with the publication of its newsletters only in the form of subscription fees charged to subscribers and reproduction or re-dissemination fees charged to subscribers or others interested in the newsletter content.<br />28<br />
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