prev

Today 11am EST - Expert E-Cig "Speaker Series" - Are Vaporizers Stealing Share from Big Tobacco?

Join us today at 11am EST as we continue our Speaker Series on e-cigarettes and e-vapor with John J. Wiesehan, Jr., CEO of the Charlotte based company, Ballantyne Brands, LLC.

 

Ballantyne Brands is a leading private manufacturer with the third largest market share in the U.S. (in the xAOC channel) with such e-cig brands as Mistic and Neo and personal vaporizer Haus.

 

CALL OBJECTIVE 

Is the consumer switching to an alternative vaping product, and why?  Mr. Wiesehan, Jr. will offer his latest insights and expertise to Hedgeye's ongoing research on the e-cigarette/e-vapor category.

 

 KEY CALL TOPICS WILL INCLUDE

  • Industry developments and trends
  • How the FDA's proposed regulations stands to impact the industry
  • Ballantyne Brands product offering versus Big Tobacco's
  • What does future technology look like

 

KEY TICKERS

LO, MO, PM, RAI, ECIG, VPCO, BTI

 

ABOUT JOHN J. WIESEHAN, JR.  

John J. Wiesehan, Jr. is currently the CEO of Ballantyne Brands, LLC. A graduate of Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Missouri, John spent time at General Electric as the Worldwide Operations Manager. From General Electric, he moved to Woods Industries as Vice President in the Sales and Marketing sector.  In October 2012, John joined Ballantyne Brands, LLC located in North Carolina and became CEO.

 

CALL DETAILS

  • Toll Free Number:
  • Direct Dial Number:
  • Conference Code: 544867#
  • Materials: CLICK HERE (Slides will download one hour prior to the start of the call)

For more information please email


THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK

TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP – July 16, 2014


As we look at today's setup for the S&P 500, the range is 29 points or 0.88% downside to 1956 and 0.59% upside to 1985.                                    

                                                                                          

SECTOR PERFORMANCE

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 1A

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 2

 

EQUITY SENTIMENT:

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 10

 

CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK:

  • YIELD CURVE: 2.07 from 2.07
  • VIX closed at 11.96 1 day percent change of 1.18%

 

MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):

  • 6am: ECB publishes report on international role of euro
  • 7am: MBA Mortgage Applications, week of July 11 (prior 1.9%)
  • 8:30am: PPI Final Demand, m/m, June, est. 0.2% (prior -0.2%)
  • 9am: Net Long-Term TIC Flows, May, est. $25b (prior -$24.2b)
  • 9:15am: Industrial Prod., m/m, June, est. 0.3% (prior 0.6%)
  • 10am: NAHB Housing Market Index, July, est. 50 (prior 49)
  • 10am: Fed’s Yellen gives semi-annual testimony to House cmte
  • 10am: Bank of Canada seen maintaining 1% benchmk interest rate
  • 10:30am: DOE Energy Inventories
  • 12pm: Fed’s Fisher speaks in Los Angeles
  • 2pm: Fed releases Beige Book

 

GOVERNMENT:

    • U.S. House passes short-term fix for Highway Trust Fund
    • Hillary Clinton doesn’t comment on 2016 bid on Daily Show
    • 9:30am: Senate Commerce, Armed Services Cmtes hold joint hearing on domestic space access
    • 10am: House Rules Cmte considers resolution allowing House of Representatives to sue President Obama
    • 10am: House Budget Cmte hears from CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf on long-term budget outlook
    • 10am: Senate Banking subcmte holds “What Makes a Bank Systemically Important?” hearing
    • 10am: Senate Veterans Affairs Cmte hears from acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson on state of VA health care
    • 11:15am: Sens. Blumenthal, D-Conn., Casey, D-Pa., hold news conf. to introduce bill that would “make it a crime for a corporate officer to knowingly conceal the fact that a corporate action or product poses a danger of death or serious physical injury to consumers and workers”
    • 1:15pm: Reps. Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Murphy, R-Pa., hold conf. call on H.R. 3717, a bill that would address “the need to fix our nation’s broken health system”

 

WHAT TO WATCH:

  • Bipartisan bill targets FSOC secrecy; Treasury concerned
  • Obama administration seeks swift curb on offshore tax deals
  • IBM, Apple to cooperate on business solutions software
  • IGT to be bought by GTech for $18.25/share
  • Uber valuation may exceed $200b: Google Ventures head
  • Intel CEO sees evidence of renewed interest in consumer PC
  • Alibaba valued at as much as $150b in private trades: WSJ
  • Co. said likely to sell more shares in IPO as Yahoo holds
  • 3M to buy Sumitomo Electric’s stake in venture for $885m
  • Microsoft to cut 1,000 Finnish jobs: Helsingin Sanomat
  • U.S. oil export ban won’t be lifted this year: Congressman
  • Amazon Web Services expects to cut prices further: Fortune
  • Tesla Model III may have range of >200 miles: Auto Express
  • Model S to be focus of hacking contest in Beijing
  • Jet makers slim engine choices; cut airline leverage: WSJ
  • F-35 jets won’t fly to Farnborough due to U.S. restrictions
  • GM withheld information on fatal crashes: NYT cites documents

 

AM EARNS:

    • Abbott Laboratories (ABT) 7:44am, $0.51 - Preview
    • Bank of America (BAC) 7am, $0.29 - Preview
    • BlackRock (BLK) 6:30am, $4.46
    • Charles Schwab (SCHW) 8:45am, $0.22
    • First Republic Bank (FRC) 7am, $0.76
    • iGATE (IGTE) 6:35am, $0.47
    • MGIC Investment (MTG) 7am, $0.14
    • Northern Trust (NTRS) 7:30am, $0.84
    • PNC Financial (PNC) 6:30am, $1.78
    • St Jude Medical (STJ) 7:30am, $1.00 - Preview
    • Textron (TXT) 6:30am, $0.46 - Preview
    • US Bancorp (USB) 7:15am, $0.77

 

PM EARNS:

    • East West Bancorp (EWBC) 5:50pm, $0.58
    • eBay (EBAY) 4:15pm, $0.68 - Preview
    • Kinder Morgan (KMI) 4:05pm, $0.30
    • Las Vegas Sands (LVS) 4:01pm, $0.90
    • Plexus (PLXS) 4pm, $0.72
    • SanDisk (SNDK) 4:05pm, $1.39
    • Select Comfort (SCSS) 4:01pm, $0.14
    • United Rentals (URI) 4:15pm, $1.46
    • Yum! Brands (YUM) 4:15pm, $0.73 - Preview

 

COMMODITY/GROWTH EXPECTATION (HEADLINES FROM BLOOMBERG)

  • Goldman Forecasts Lower Commodity Prices as Super-Cycle Ends
  • WTI Rises From Two-Month Low on Cushing Supply; Brent Recovers
  • Gold Fixing Banks Said to Propose Changes to Pricing Process
  • Trafigura Targets Indian Manufacturers With Online Metals Store
  • China Banks Said to Have $3.2 Billion Exposure in Qingdao Probe
  • Gold Trades Near 3-Week Low as Dollar Weighed With Middle East
  • Japan Nuclear Safety Report Seen Having ‘Marginal’ Impact on LNG
  • Zinc Trades Near 35-Month High as China’s Growth Tops Estimates
  • European Commission Prolongs Deadline for Decision on Opal Pipe
  • Raw-Sugar Spread Seen Widening on Brazil to India Supply Risks
  • UBS Commodity Analyst Tom Price Leaves Bank, Spokeswoman Says
  • European Naphtha Shipments to Asia to Rise in July From June
  • Carbon Price Quadrupling Has Same Impact on U.K. as 32% Oil Gain
  • Indonesia Says Could Terminate Newmont Unit’s Contract
  • Largest Lithium Deal Spurred by Smartphones, Teslas: Commodities

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 5

 

CURRENCIES


THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 6

 

GLOBAL PERFORMANCE

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 3

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 4

 

EUROPEAN MARKETS

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 7

 

ASIAN MARKETS

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 8

 

MIDDLE EAST

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 9

 

 

The Hedgeye Macro Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


SINGAPORE SAYS, “GLOBAL GROWTH WILL SLOW IN 3Q”

Takeaway: A recent string of ratty growth data out of Singapore calls for a likely mean reversion in the pace of global growth in 3Q14.

Yesterday night Singapore released its advance estimate for 2Q14 real GDP. That data showed the ever-volatile Singaporean economy more than cut in half from a rate of change perspective:

 

  • Real GDP YoY:+2.1% from +4.7% prior vs. a Bloomberg consensus estimate of +3.1%
    • Manufacturing: +0.2% from +9.9% prior
    • Construction: +5% from +6.4% prior
    • Services: +2.8% from +3.9% prior
  • Real GDP QoQ SAAR:-0.8% from +1.6% prior vs. a Bloomberg consensus estimate of +2.4%
    • Manufacturing: -19.4% from +12.2% prior
    • Construction: +2.6% from -0.5% prior
    • Services: +5.2% from -1.4% prior 

 

Two things stand out most to us:

 

  1. Consensus being way off on their estimates
  2. The disaster that is manufacturing growth in Singapore

 

While both inputs can be readily dismissed by a Consensus Macro growth bull (#1 because Singaporean growth is volatile and therefore difficult to forecast and #2 because of the small size of the Singaporean economy ($296B), a handful of large multinational corporations can have an outsized impact on Singaporean production), we would be remiss to do anything but interpret them at face value.

 

Why? Because Singapore is the arguably world’s most open economy from an international trade perspective. Specifically:

 

  • Singapore is home to the world’s second-most trafficked container port behind Shanghai, handling some 31,650 TEUs on an annual basis, per the most recently available data (2012);
  • An export/GDP ratio of 191% makes Singapore the second-most export-reliant growth model in the world after Hong Kong; and
  • Singapore’s primary export destinations are very balanced from a market share perspective: Malaysia (12.3%), Hong Kong (10.9%), China (10.8%), Indonesia (10.6%), US (5.5%), Japan (4.6%), Australia (4.2%), and South Korea (4%) round out the top eight. This is in stark contrast to the concentration seen in Hong Kong exports, where China accounts for 57.7% of the total.

 

It’s should then come as no surprise that the slope of Singaporean growth tracks the slope of global growth quite well (i.e. these two time series exhibit a high degree of cointegration). At worst, Singapore’s high-frequency growth data should be viewed as a real-time read on the marginal state of the global economy.

 

SINGAPORE SAYS, “GLOBAL GROWTH WILL SLOW IN 3Q” - 1

 

As such, with Singaporean economic growth moderating so sharply in 2Q14, it’s reasonable to assume that global growth indicators will start to mean revert lower from what are incredibly stretched levels on a historical basis.

 

SINGAPORE SAYS, “GLOBAL GROWTH WILL SLOW IN 3Q” - MANUFACTURING PMI

 

SINGAPORE SAYS, “GLOBAL GROWTH WILL SLOW IN 3Q” - SERVICES PMI

 

SINGAPORE SAYS, “GLOBAL GROWTH WILL SLOW IN 3Q” - COMPOSITE PMI

 

Quickly delving back into Singapore, we see that the forward-looking components to the SIPMM PMI survey are all decelerating on a trend basis, while inventories, imports and supplier delivery times (i.e. anything that might indicate the need to accelerate or decelerate production) is accelerating on a trend basis. In the context of crashing export growth, these signals do not bode well for the Singaporean economy’s ability to ‘comp’ difficult compares in 2H14.

 

SINGAPORE SAYS, “GLOBAL GROWTH WILL SLOW IN 3Q” - Singapore High Frequency GIP Data Monitor

 

SINGAPORE SAYS, “GLOBAL GROWTH WILL SLOW IN 3Q” - SINGAPORE

 

If we knew nothing else about Singapore, we’d short it on those factors alone. Layer on an outlook for continued tight monetary policy (i.e. export growth-eroding SGD strength) amid a dramatic acceleration in inflation and a now-contracting, formerly-bubbly property market, and we are left with a tasty cocktail on the short side of Asian equities for 2H14.

 

SINGAPORE SAYS, “GLOBAL GROWTH WILL SLOW IN 3Q” - CPI

 

SINGAPORE SAYS, “GLOBAL GROWTH WILL SLOW IN 3Q” - 8

 

Global growth bears: prepare to drop the anchor!

 

DD

 

Darius Dale

Associate: Macro Team


Attention Students...

Get The Macro Show and the Early Look now for only $29.95/month – a savings of 57% – with the Hedgeye Student Discount! In addition to those daily macro insights, you'll receive exclusive content tailor-made to augment what you learn in the classroom. Must be a current college or university student to qualify.

REITERATING OUR RESEARCH VIEW ON JAPAN

Takeaway: We reiterate our call of not having a high-conviction call on Japan here amid a convoluted globally-interconnected monetary policy outlook.

When we last published our extended thoughts on Japan, we openly debated the outlook for the “Abenomics Trade” (i.e. SHORT Japanese yen + LONG Japanese equities) with respect to the intermediate term. To recap the pros and cons of allocating capital to this investment strategy:

 

  • A likely transition from Quad #3 (i.e. growth slowing as inflation accelerates) in 2Q14 to Quad #1 (i.e. growth accelerating as inflation decelerates) in 3Q14
  • A re-risking of the GPIF portfolio
  • Favorable micro tailwinds
  • Abe’s “Third Arrow” is more talk; less walk
  • Easier Fed + Japanese monetary policy vacuum = stronger JPY

 

For those of you who like to get into the weeds on the numbers, please refer to our JUN 30 note titled “JAPAN POLICY VACUUM PART II?” for a deeper discussion of those puts and takes. It might not even be worth your time, however, as not much has changed since then.

 

Specifically, the BoJ’s latest policy meeting (statement out earlier today) was yet another nonevent. It left its QQE program unchanged, in line with the entire analyst community and the wording of the statement was broadly in line with previous guidance. Moreover, BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda reiterated the board’s sanguine view of the Japanese economy and its progress on achieving #StructuralInflation in Japan.

 

In fact, a marginal tinkering of the FY14 real GDP growth estimate was the only update to their official guidance:

 

  • Real GDP:
    • FY14: +1%, down -10bps vs. the prior forecast
    • FY15: +1.5%, unchanged vs. the prior forecast
    • FY16: +1.3%, unchanged vs. the prior forecast
  • CPI (excluding the impact of the consumption tax hike):
    • FY14: +1.3%, unchanged vs. the prior forecast
    • FY15: +1.9%, unchanged vs. the prior forecast
    • FY16: +2.1%, unchanged vs. the prior forecast

 

The key takeaway for investors here is that the resiliency of the Japanese economy post the APR consumption tax hike coupled with no material change in the BoJ’s own outlook for inflation roughly equates to an incremental delay in the timing of incremental easing (i.e. expanding their QQE program).

 

Speaking to that resiliency, the preponderance of Japanese high-frequency growth data is now accelerating on a trend basis as of JUN:

 

REITERATING OUR RESEARCH VIEW ON JAPAN - Japan High Frequency GIP Data Monitor

 

This sequential momentum is highly likely to support a bounce in real GDP off an easier compare here in 3Q14. To the extent that catalyst materializes, we could now be looking at the DEC 18-19 meeting or early-2015 for the timing of the BoJ’s next move, which would likely follow two consecutive quarters of decelerating CPI readings, or at least be in response to a dovish policy delta out of the Federal Reserve that impacts the currency markets.

 

REITERATING OUR RESEARCH VIEW ON JAPAN - JAPAN

 

A lot could happen between now and then, so, net-net, we do not think it’s appropriate for investors to gross up their exposures to the Abenomics Trade in either direction at the current juncture. While our late-MAY call for investors to cover Abenomics shorts was highly appropriate (e.g. the Nikkei 225 Index is up +4.9% since then), the outlook from here remains unclear.

 

As such, we reiterate our call of not having a high-conviction call on Japan right now. Up until very recently, we’ve had one since 4Q12 (in both directions of the Abenomics Trade), so we’re more than content to stand pat and let the data instruct our next move. Why force it?

 

Have a great night,

 

DD

 

Darius Dale

Associate: Macro Team


REITERATING OUR RESEARCH VIEW ON CHINA

Takeaway: Recent economic data supports renewed optimism across Chinese capital markets, but we don’t think improvement in the former is sustainable.

Today, we received what was the latest in a string of directionally positive economic data out of China. Specifically, the JUN credit growth data confirms what we already knew: a multi-month string of fiscal and monetary policy “mini-stimulus” efforts have successfully stabilized the slope of Chinese economic growth. Not surprisingly, Chinese equity ETFs have performed fairly well on that catalyst (3M performance):

 

  • iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI): +8.8%
  • Guggenheim China Technology ETF (CQQQ): +9.4%
  • Global X China Consumer ETF (CHIQ): +0.1%
  • Global X China Financials ETF (CHIX): +7.3%
  • EGShares China Infrastructure ETF (CHXX): +5.7%

 

Digging into the weeds, aggregate financing accelerated materially in JUN on a sharp acceleration in deposit growth and shadow credit formation. Both are in line with the easing of fiscal and monetary policy over the past 3-6M and the former should continue to ease as we progress through the year (deficit spending out of Beijing tends to be back-half loaded).

 

REITERATING OUR RESEARCH VIEW ON CHINA - 1

 

This should come as no surprise to our subscribers, as we’ve literally been harping on this very point for the past two months. Refer to the following research note for more color on this topic, as well as for incremental color on the key takeaway of this note.

 

 

That key takeaway is very simple: don’t extrapolate recent data as something that resembles China turning the corner from a domestic demand perspective.

 

Specifically, the monetary policy guidance out of the PBoC would suggest that the bulk of the easing we’ve seen the Chinese money markets in recent months is now rear view mirror – especially with credit growth running so hot of late (this was the fastest pace of credit formation in any JUN since 2009!).

 

REITERATING OUR RESEARCH VIEW ON CHINA - China PBoC OMO

 

REITERATING OUR RESEARCH VIEW ON CHINA - China 7 day Repo Rate Monthly Avg

 

That should weigh on the outlook for fixed asset investment – particularly in the property sector, which remains a complete disaster (PRICE, DEMAND and FINANCING are all tending resoundingly negative amid positively trending SUPPLY). Moreover, Chinese credit formation (and headline GDP growth) tend to be skewed toward the first half of the year anyway. Add tougher GDP compares to that mix and you have what is a reasonably sound argument for rates of Chinese growth to peak here in the mid-summer.

 

REITERATING OUR RESEARCH VIEW ON CHINA - China Property Market Monitor

 

REITERATING OUR RESEARCH VIEW ON CHINA - China GDP Seasonality

 

REITERATING OUR RESEARCH VIEW ON CHINA - CHINA

 

REITERATING OUR RESEARCH VIEW ON CHINA - China Iron Ore  Rebar and Coal YoY

 

It’s worth nothing that we’re not calling for Chinese economic growth to tank in 2H14, nor do we see its obvious financial risks materializing in a meaningful way over the intermediate term. With CPI running well below the State Council’s +3.5% target in the YTD and a conservative sub-2% deficit/GDP ratio, Chinese authorities have plenty of scope to meaningfully ease monetary and fiscal policy in an effort to stave off anything resembling a crisis.

 

REITERATING OUR RESEARCH VIEW ON CHINA - CPI

 

Moreover, we think the threat of crisis is precisely why we don’t think they’ll waste their “bullets” on a likely marginal deterioration in economic conditions in 2H14. As our proprietary EM crisis risk modeling work continues to suggest, the Chinese financial system is rife with tail risks.

 

REITERATING OUR RESEARCH VIEW ON CHINA - PILLAR III

 

REITERATING OUR RESEARCH VIEW ON CHINA - EXPLANATION TABLE

 

We’ll cross that bridge when we eventually get to it. For now, trade your China exposures accordingly.

 

DD

 

Darius Dale

Associate: Macro Team


LULU - LBO Math = Downside Support

Takeaway: LULU LBO not as prohibitive as we'd previously thought. Deal or no deal, we think there's defendable downside support in the low $30s.

Conclusion: We had previously bought into the popular thought process suggesting that LULU was too expensive to be an LBO, and it had the wrong financial and style characteristics for a private buyer. In the ‘strategic outcome bracket’ below, we assigned it only a 10% chance of happening, behind an all-out strategic acquisition (20%), and Chip selling his stock outright (35%).  But after running through some LBO math, we’re more inclined to think that an LBO actually makes financial sense.  Do we think that a deal will be announced tomorrow with the stock at $39? Probably not -- although the math would support it.  But for those like us who are trying to get a handle on where the real downside support is in this stock, we think this helps show that it is in the low-$30s.  The risk/reward on the long side still looks really favorable here to us.

 

Here are some key considerations in our analysis.

 

1. A Traditional LBO is Not In The Cards.  The IRR makes sense for a traditional LBO, but the leverage characteristics do not. Our analysis below suggests a 20% premium from the current price, 35% equity, an exit multiple 25% below entry multiple, and that margins come down below 18% over the modeling time horizon. All of that suggests an IRR of just over 20%. Overall, that’s reasonably attractive. But the problem is with leverage.

LULU - LBO Math = Downside Support - LULU Op A

*Click image for larger view

 

2. This chart shows the leverage ratios for the highest levered deals in the market over the past decade. The highest leverage ratios occurred in 2007/08 just before the recession, and those numbers topped out at 8.2x debt/EBITDA. A standard, run-of-the-mill Private Equity buyout would imply leverage of 8.8x. That’s simply way too high for us to view as any margin of support.

LULU - LBO Math = Downside Support - Lulu Leverage

Source: Forbes

 

3. But, here’s where Chip can help. The fact is that the guy owns 27.7% of the common equity. There’s no reason he cannot team up with a private buyer in a way where he contributes his stock to the partnership, and gets the same return as the financial buyer on the way out.  In effect he becomes a de-facto creditor to a financial buyer. That way, the combined entity still puts up $6.8bn for LULU, but one of the sources of financing is Chip’s $1.9bn in stock. That brings the leverage ratio for a deal down to 6.1x, which is right in line with the 5.7x rate we’ve seen year-to-date for LBOs.  

 

4. Here’s the revised model assuming that Chip facilitates this transaction with his own stock. Assuming the same operational inputs in the model described above, this suggests an IRR closer to 24%, but importantly, with palatable leverage.

LULU - LBO Math = Downside Support - LULU Op B

*Click image for larger view

 

5. Here’s a sensitivity analysis that we use to triangulate price, leverage, and IRR. The punchline is that a deal works with the stock (before takeout premium) anywhere starting with a $3-handle. Obviously, the return gets a lot more attractive as the stock nears $30. But for that reason, it might never get there.

LULU - LBO Math = Downside Support - luluB sensitivity

*Click image for larger view

 

6. We used a 20% premium for no other reason than it has been the gold standard for retail names over the past decade. Some would argue that we need a bigger premium given how much LULU has declined over the past year. But truth be told, all LBOs are beaten down before they’re bought. It’s the nature of the beast. We shouldn’t think of LULU any differently.

LULU - LBO Math = Downside Support - lulu lbo premium

Source: SSRN

 

 

HERE'S OUR NOTE FROM JUNE 25th ON WHY WE ADDED LULU TO OUR BEST IDEAS LIST AS A LONG

 

Conclusion: Today we hosted a conference call to discuss the rationale behind why we added LULU to our Best Ideas list as a long after the stock’s latest collapse. As we’ve said before, the call right now has nothing to do with our confidence in the business or the team running it. This is a company in a defendable category with an outstanding brand, a $95bn addressable market, and a realizable $4-$5bn revenue stream over 5-years. But the catch is that it’s still sitting on a $500mm management team and operating structure.  The good news is that never in LULU’s history has there ever been a path to creating value, and that’s due to the sometimes painful, and usually embarrassing presence of its founder, Chip Wilson. But we think that the Board structure that he created will ultimately lead to him outright failing in his current attempt to regain control of the company. That is likely to be a catalyst for one of many forms of change, which we explored in our presentation and deck.  We plucked out a few of the more salient slides that we think are worth considering. Let us know if you’d like the replay and the full materials.

 

The LULU Bracket

This diagram is noisy. It’s supposed to be. Start reading it on the left with the decision of whether or not Chip Wilson wins control of the Board We very generously gave him 20% probability. But in reality he’ll be lucky to get 10%. If he loses, which he will, we think that one of two outcomes is most likely; a) he sells his stock (35% chance) – representing 27.7% of shares outstanding, or b) there’s a deal – 10% likelihood of a buyout, or 20% chance of an acquisition. When all is said and done, about 80% of the outcomes get us to a price well above $41.

 

LULU - LBO Math = Downside Support - lulu1

 

Outcomes, As We See Them

1)      Management Team Upgrade (49% probability): Each scenario results in a potential management upgrade, but the biggest likelihood is if Wilson sells his stock. All in, we get to a 49% chance of a meaningful change in management (including putting in place a high caliber CEO). This company needs better executives, and a lot more of them. This is a team that we think would proactively invest in systems needed to more appropriately discount product – something LULU sorely needs – and tackle its competitors head on instead of clinging on to a ridiculous hope of a perma 55% Gross Margin. The way it is being run today, the company is on its way to becoming Coach. We firmly believe changing that path is not a very difficult one. All in, this scenario gets us back to the discussion of $3-$4 in earnings power, or a $60-$100 stock (20x $3.00, and 25x $4.00).
 

2)      Deal (30% probability): The biggest barrier to a deal getting done in the past has been that Chip didn’t want it to happen. Now he’s likely searching for one. Our sense on Wilson is that he feels handcuffed by LULU. He’s not allowed to participate in anything having to do with the company aside from attend Board meetings, but he’s too big a shareholder to go off and start another brand (something he’s actually very good at) due to his non-compete. If he can’t gain control, he could look to get the company sold. We think that a buyout with a PE partner is not very likely – as there’s not a ton of private buyers that would take out a high margin company at 15x EBITDA. But we think that the set of strategic buyers is a) far more expansive and b) less price-sensitive.
 

3)      Status Quo (21% probability): This outcome pretty much stinks. The reality for LULU is that a status quo management team and status quo operating plan results in a far less than status quo stock price. We see about $10 downside to $30-32 if this is the case ($1.50 in EPS – 15x p/e and 10x EBITDA). This is the outcome that would cause us to pull the plug on our call – though we don’t think this will come to fruition.

 

LULU - LBO Math = Downside Support - LULU2

 

Board Considerations

There’s a few reasons why Chip will likely not regain control of the Board.

1)      Giving up the title of Chairman in late 2013 is the worst thing Chip could have done. We think that was one of the final moves in a game of chess the real Board was playing with him. He agrees to step down from being Chairman if Laurent Potdevin gets the green light to be CEO. Potdevin is likely not the guy for this job, but it was a great move in hindsight by the Board.
 

2)      Why? Only the CEO, Chairman or a majority of the Board can call a special vote at LULU. Chip cannot do it. He literally has a better shot at selling the company outright than he does in calling a simple special Board meeting.
 

3)      There are 10 Board members, and three are clearly on ‘Team Chip’. But the Board has an offensive weapon in that it is authorized to have between 3 and 15 Board seats. All the Board needs is a simple majority (which Chip likely will not be included in) and it can appoint up to five new Directors -- none of whom are likely to be aligned with Wilson.
 

4)      Better yet, there are staggered seats with three year terms. So if Board members are appointed today, he or she doesn't have to be voted on by shareholders until 2017.
 

5)      All in, Chip’s ownership has been steadily shrinking, but his influence has been shrinking faster. He knows this. All the more reason to make a move to get out.
 

 

LULU - LBO Math = Downside Support - lulu3

 

Who’s A Buyer?

We think that there’s a lot of companies that want to own LULU, but unfortunately, not a lot of companies can afford to do the deal at $8bn. We calculated the leverage for a host of suitors pre and post transaction, and also looked at year 1 accretion and dilution for each company. The punchline for us is that LULU is not likely to be bought by an American company. We’re thinking German, French or Japanese.

a)      Nike: NKE won’t buy what it thinks it can build for less money. Whether you agree with them or not is irrelevant. They think they can beat LULU organically, so they won’t buy it.
 

b)      Adidas: AdiBok needs it, can afford it, and couldn’t care less about near-term dilution. This makes a ton of sense.
 

c)       UnderArmour: This makes zero sense strategically or financially. I’m surprised I’m asked this so often.
 

d)      VFC: This would be a big nut for VFC to digest, but they could afford it – barely. VFC has gotten less value-conscious in recent years (i.e. TBL) so maybe it’s a possibility. But a dark horse for sure.
 

e)      PVH: This is a company that needs a deal like LULU, but it would crush PVH financially. Tough luck Manny.
 

f)       Fast Retailing: The Japanese owner of Uniqlo is looking to aggressively expand into the US, and needs to diversify away from its mall retail fashion push. The fit makes sense, the accretion is a no brainer even past $70, and let’s not forget that Fast was almost on the hook for buying J Crew in March for $5bn until it saw how bad Mickey’s business was trending.
 

g)      Kering: CEO is on the tape saying he wants to buy sports brands to augment Puma, Tretorn and Volcom. KER could digest LULU in a heartbeat. French company might keep Laurent on board, as well.
 

h)      GPS: This one is another consideration – albeit a long shot. It would take GPS’ debt to total capital to about 65%, which is likely far above the Fisher family’s comfort level. Perhaps GPS will be content chipping away at LULU with Athleta, which is crushing it.

 

LULU - LBO Math = Downside Support - lulu4

 

LULU - LBO Math = Downside Support - lulu5

 

LULU - LBO Math = Downside Support - lulu6 

 

LULU - LBO Math = Downside Support - lulu7


GET THE HEDGEYE MARKET BRIEF FREE

Enter your email address to receive our newsletter of 5 trending market topics. VIEW SAMPLE

By joining our email marketing list you agree to receive marketing emails from Hedgeye. You may unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in one of the emails.

next