Takeaway: General Mills is a great company.
The following is a summary of our 92 page Black Book on General Mills. We are LONG General Mills and believe there are multiple ways to win
We summarize the key takeaways into three main points:
GIS NEEDS TO BE REINVENTED!
The opportunity to create significant shareholder value from repositioning the company is significant. The recent performance suggests that management may be too stuck in the past to reshape the company in a way that will accelerate top line growth. There have been a number of events over the past few years that suggest the timing is optimal for an activist to come on and re-shape management and the board.
GIS has done a lot of things to stave off an activist attack, but it will all be for nothing if they do not execute on their growth plan. GIS is a great company with strong brands. Its business practices and backward looking are insular. Reshaping the portfolio of brands, CPW and G&A cuts are just some of the ways to create significant shareholder value.
MANY WAYS TO WIN
GIS needs to reshape the company to stay as a premier global food company. Alternatively, GIS would make a solid acquisition target, especially for PepsiCo. GIS needs to accelerate its growth and management is struggling to do it internally. In our view, selling the company to PepsiCo would be an ideal scenario for all stakeholders. Or reinvent the company through meaningful acquisitions and divestitures.
THE HEDGEYE GIS ACTIVIST PLAYBOOK
Our playbook for GIS is focused on a few key moves, which involve transitioning the company to a more progressive global food company:
OVERVIEW OF GIS
The company generated $17.9bn in FY14 across its three reportable business segments:
The company is focused on five key platforms globally:
Respected management team, although they seem to be complacent with the current status of the business.
GIS has taken themselves from a Consumer Goods conglomerate to a more focused pure play packaged food company.
CEREAL IS A GREAT CATEGORY
The cereal category is not dead; it is merely at a point of maturity.
THE GROWTH MODEL HAS LITTLE FOUNDATION
The company's long-term “growth” model is unachievable given the current structure of the company. The key “growth” brands represent only 45% of the global portfolio.
We have a detailed Black Book coming out that will highlight the transaction of PepsiCo acquiring General Mills.
WHAT IS GIS WORTH
GIS has a lot of value that needs to be unlocked. Divesting underperforming slow growth brands will enable further growth and value for shareholders.
Let us know if you have any questions, or would like to discuss in more detail.
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Takeaway: WTI moved above and held its TREND line of resistance in the last week. We now look to the USD for more directional clarity.
Below we outline the quantitative signals and less importantly the fundamental story that supports the counter-TREND move in oil since the Fed’s March 18th meeting.
Without a near-term central-planning catalyst we view Friday’s non-Farm payrolls report as a key indicator for the direction of the USD which is near testing its intermediate-term TREND level of support at $93.12. Inverse correlations to commodities have also reverted to more normalized levels over the near-term, making the direction of the currency in the aftermath of Friday’s report telling for developing a more finite view on oil prices.
If you didn’t have a chance to view this morning’s macro call live or catch up with the Early Look commentary from KM, it’s worth a read as we verbally debated the meaning of the extended counter-TREND moves in commodities, the dollar, and interest rates:
"From SEP 2014 to FEB 2015, Oil Volatility (OVX) went from 17 to 63 = +270%.
From FEB 2015 to now, OVX dropped from 63 to 36 = -42%."
With WTI moving above its own TREND resistance level, our risk ranges remain very wide over the intermediate-term with the shorter-term market signals more confirming of a move higher. The market signals that have accompanied the move higher are similar to the November-January signals that accompanied the move lower.
Specifically, oil is making a series of higher lows and higher highs in the last several weeks on healthy volumes and tighter ranges, or compressing volatility (both realized and implied). Since March 17th (pre-Fed meeting), here’s how the signals shake-out:
On April 24th we blasted a video and slide deck outlining these conflicting signals in more detail:
1) Conflicting quantitative signals in oil markets (Against our bearish call)
2) The importance of yielding to top-down macro over the push-and-pull of global supply/demand narratives. The replay link and slide deck are included below.
On the fundamental side of global energy markets we re-iterate that supply/demand adjustments will continue to smooth on a lag. Although much lower on the compendium of important factors to our process, the fundamental supply/demand picture DOES suggest more support for oil prices than it did in January:
Oil prices will continue to move up and down and back again but all-in-all our historical cycle suggests anchoring on the direction of major currency moves is the most-sound tools for developing the right bias to risk manage the longer duration moves in commodities. Friday’s jobs report will be an important jobs report and one the Federal Reserve will be watching closely.
"To be clear, my mistake wasn’t being short Oil for this entire move up (we covered commodity shorts ahead of an easier Fed and #LateCycle Labor reports, for a trade)," Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough wrote this morning. "It wasn’t being long it at $100 either. It was in not being long it from $45 to $62. My main mistake there was that I didn’t think Oil’s Volatility was going to compress almost as fast as it exploded to the upside."
Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from today's morning research. Click here to learn more and to subscribe to America's fastest-growing independent research firm.
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Oil experienced an epic 6 month crash, then rally. Right now, the inverse correlation between Oil and the U.S. Dollar is screaming (yes, we know that supply and demand narratives help too…) with USD signaling immediate-term lower-highs and Oil higher-lows into this US jobs report. Bad jobs report = USD bearish, Oil bullish.
Speaking of the Dollar, the Russell 2000 does not like Down Dollar. That makes sense to me as the “tax cut” from lower gas prices is, well, getting cut! This is going to be a problem for an economic narrative that even Janet Yellen has been forced to acknowledge recently (#StrongDollar, Down Oil, Stronger Consumption).
The Russell 2000 in the midst of a -4.7% correction. Overlay that with the USD and you’ll get the point.
As I spelled out in today’s Morning Newsletter, my intermediate-term TREND price deck for Oil is now $42.06-$69.03.
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