Update Following 3Q19 Earnings Call (MMMB)

I don’t think quarterly updates are particularly useful. The thesis remains intact from the previous article, but I figured I’d briefly touch on what I found interesting from the release and earnings call:

1) 2Q Weakness One-Off Blip- If there was any skepticism around managements explanation of a weak 2Q19, this quarter proved it was truly transitory.

2) Operating Leverage- Sales grew at a 12% clip but this drove a 50% growth in EBIT to $536k. Stock is trading close to 10x EBIT going forward, assuming no future growth.

3) Strategic Alternative In 1Q18- Company expects to give update on review underway early in the company’s 1Q2020, which begins 2/1/19.

Investors continue to be in a good position. If the company is purchased as a result of the strategic initiatives, I think it comes at a price about 100% higher than today. If the company remains independent, there is a solid growth runway to a $50-60mm annual sales level.

I hold a position in MMMB. Any article is only opinion and not a recommendation to buy or sell.

MamaMancini’s Holdings (MMMB)

I’m going to sound like every value investing blog or quarterly letter when I say the more boring an idea, the better. MamaMancini’s (MMMB) fits this perfectly. Selling branded meatballs and other Italian dishes, MMMB is taking advantage of a trio of trends in consumer packaged foods that are actually driving growth: 1) Natural and Organic 2) Freshly prepared foods 3) Frozen foods. The company successfully grew the top-line at 43% in Fiscal 2017 and 53% in Fiscal 2018, leading to a profitable and FCF positive 2018. This growth came as MMMB was able to increase their product placement to 43,300 SKUs in 12,500 locations as of 7/31/18 from 32,000 SKUs at 10,100 locations as of 1/31/16.

The stock has been a laggard over the last year, exacerbated by a weak Fiscal 2Q 2019 (7/31/18) as changes in multiple purchasing offices of MMMB’s customers caused sales to drop vs. 2Q18. Despite this, the stock is offering investors a great deal as growth is likely to continue in the coming quarters as MMMB management has laid a solid base for the company with catalysts upcoming for significant stock price appreciation.

Catalysts:

  • $40mm annual run rate of sales by end of fiscal year: management expects SKUs to increase by 7-10k placements to 50-53k total. A $40mm annual run rate would mean a resumption of ~25% growth by Fiscal 4Q19 (1/31/19)
  • Continued growth in Fiscal 2020: MMMB indicated a major national retailer has strongly indicated a start date for selling our products next spring. As you can see below the company still has only entered about 32% of available locations.

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 9.10.54 PM

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 9.11.14 PM

  • Strategic Alternatives Initiative: MMMB retained Akin Bay Company in partnership with Kernick Advisory Group to investigate strategic options for MMMB shareholders “Given the current strong U.S. economic environment, management and the Company’s Board of Directors believe that this is an appropriate time to evaluate the Company’s market position and prospects and investigate if there are alternatives where shareholder value can be substantially enhanced. Potential options could include, but not be limited to, strategic acquisitions, a merger with, or purchase by a larger strategic food company or investors or recapitalization of the Company. There is no guarantee that any transaction will occur. However, given the positive fundamentals of the economy and MamaMancini’s, we believe that our shareholders deserve a comprehensive review of our options. We intend to further comment on this process when appropriate.” Current CEO and the largest shareholder (21%) of MMMB, Carl Wolf, has extensive experience building and selling consumer branded products, from the most recent 10-K, “ Wolf was the founder, majority shareholder, Chairman of the Board, and CEO of Alpine Lace Brands, Inc., a NASDAQ-listed public company with over $125 million in wholesale sales. He also founded, managed, and sold MCT Dairies, Inc., a $60 million international dairy component resource company. Other experience in the food industry includes his role as Co-chairman of Saratoga Beverage Company, a publicly traded (formerly NASDAQ: TOGA) bottled water and fresh juice company prior to its successful sale to a private equity firm.”
  • If nothing comes of the strategic review uplisting to Nasdaq will increase liquidity and visibility for the company and stock

Valuation:

MMMB recently completed a plant expansion, following the acquisition of its supplier Joseph Epstein Foods, that will allow for $50-60mm of annual sales at current production plans. A great benefit of this company is the operational leverage, which has been evident throughout the growth period beginning in Fiscal 2016.

At a $60mm sales level, 40% gross margin, 0.5% of sales to R&D, and SG&A of $12mm, the company produces EBIT of $11.7mm. Compare that to the fully diluted market cap, as of 11/26/18, of $32.3mm. This is a longer-term target so let’s look at something that could be achieved in Fiscal 2020. Let’s assume a $40mm annual sales target, which is conservative given that this run rate is expected to be achieved by 4Q19. Assuming this level of sales with 40% gross margin, 0.5% of sales to R&D, and SG&A of $10mm, the company produces EBIT of $5.8mm. Currently you’re paying 5.5 times operating income for a high growth company, with a runway for continued growth, and a number of catalysts that could uncover value for shareholders.

Along with the CEO Wolf, insiders own close to 50% of outstanding shares. This is a unique, and almost boring, opportunity where investors can invest alongside a leader in the industry who has a demonstrated track record of success. If the company continues to execute on its growth plan I think the stock could double from current levels. A sale of the company would likely limit this upside potential, but would make sense given the investment necessary to surpass the current $50-60mm sales capacity the company currently has.

Full disclosure, I currently own shares of MMMB. This is simply an opinion and not a recommendation to buy.  

Turtle Beach Corporation (HEAR)

After pausing my nascent investing blog career in early 2017, I’m back for hopefully regularly scheduled programming. At first glance I may be setting myself up for some easy article ideas and an eventual “What I got wrong on HEAR” article by picking a company that has already been a 10 bagger this year. Despite the successes, I think the market has it wrong currently on Turtle Beach (HEAR).

My thesis is that even with unbelievable success driven by the battle royale boom in gaming (Fortnite and PUBG being the most famous), this isn’t a one-time blip. The stellar 2018 has allowed HEAR to completely turn around their balance sheet; setting the stage for continued growth in PC gaming headsets (targeting 10-20% market share in the next few years), untapped markets (China), and other gaming hardware items (mice, keyboards, etc.).

At current levels the market is pricing in a greater than 50% drop in FCF and net income next year. I feel the boom in sales in 2018 has simply increased a user base that on average refreshes products every 2 years. HEAR will continue to lead this market and with a brand new capital structure that has nearly eliminated all debt, HEAR will have optionality to invest in their identified growth markets and/or return capital to shareholders. Irrational expectations and very high short interest has created a great margin of safety and an attractive value proposition for investors.

Turtle Beach (HEAR)

The company sells gaming headsets compatible with the popular gaming consoles: PlayStation 4 (PS4) and Xbox One. HEAR is the market leader in the console headset market and it really isn’t close. They currently have 6 of the top 10 selling console headsets. This includes the #1 selling console headset for PS4 and Xbox One, #1 and #2 Xbox One wireless headset, #1 PS4 wireless headset, and #1 chat headset for Xbox One and PS4. They currently have a 45% market share in the U.S. and Canada and a 51% market share in the U.K. The PC market was mentioned above as a growth platform going forward, but if you combine the PC and Console market share currently, HEAR is at 34% in the U.S. That is larger than the share of the next three competitors, combined.

What has happened in 2018?

On a macro level:

The gaming world has received a huge jolt from battle royale style games. Battle royale games are a multiplayer, online format where the winner is the last man/woman standing. The most popular of these are Fortnite and PlayerUnknowns Battleground (PUBG). The headsets are key for these games as they help the player pick up on audio cues, which is imperative for competitiveness in the format. Prior to the battle royale games, about 25% of gamers used a headset; 80% of battle royale gamers use a headset. This has led to an increase in total units sold, YTD through September, of 51.3%. Capitalizing on this trend, HEAR’s projected FY2018 revenues are expected to come in 81% higher than 2017.

The popularity of the Battle Royale format hasn’t been lost on the industry as a number of companies are delivering games with Battle Royale formats:

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has a Battle Royale mode, Blackout
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 launched on October 26th and achieved $720mm of sales in its first 3 days, scoring the highest rating of any game in the past decade, and HEAR mgmt. mentioned on the 3Q18 call that there are rumors of a battle royale mode in 2019.
  • Battlefield V launches on November 20th and features 8 multiplayer modes, one of them being a battle royale mode

The maker of Fortnite, Epic Games, has also attracted interest as it completed a $1.25bn financing round, which will likely bring new seasons and games looking to capitalize on the 80 million players per month that Fortnite currently draws.

An amazing stat from a HEAR earnings call, “There are 148 million eSports enthusiasts around the globe, and 22% of American male millennials watch eSports, putting it virtually equal with baseball and hockey in terms of viewership among that demographic.” HEAR has partnerships with a number of eSports teams.

On a micro level:

The battle royale boom has allowed HEAR to totally repair its balance sheet, positioning the company to take advantage of attractive growth opportunities.

As of 12/31/17, this is what the HEAR cap structure looked like:

  • $38.5mm Revolving Credit Facility
  • $10.9mm Term Loans
  • $21.9mm Subordinated Notes
  • $18.9mm Series B Preferred Stock at an 8% interest rate

The capital structure is 180 degrees different today thanks to an exchange of shares and warrants to retire the preferred stock and allocation of Free Cash Flow ($41mm YTD 9/30/18) towards debt reduction. Today the capital structure looks like this:

  • $3.5mm Revolving Credit Facility
  • $12.5mm Term Loans
  • $10.4mm Subordinated Notes (Will be paid off by end of 1Q19)

On the 3Q18 call, management said they will have the cash available to repay ALL remaining debt if they choose to do so in 1Q19.

The company has continually beat and raised guidance. Going into 4Q 2018, the company is guiding to 4Q Revenue of $94mm and Net Income of $16.7mm, both +18% YoY. This will bring FY2018 Revenue of $270mm, +81% YoY, and EPS of $2.55 (as of 11/14/18 the stock closed at $13.66).

Why is the market wrong?

As I mentioned above, currently the market is valuing HEAR as if sales will completely revert back to pre-battle royale levels. This is just not going to happen. While we are not going to see an 80% top-line growth number in 2019, and may even see a modest decline, HEAR is positioned with a clean balance sheet to drive profitable growth beyond 2020. Management has identified adjacent growth initiatives and now has the balance sheet to pursue these. Additionally, the battle royale trend is here to stay.   HEAR’s customers, on average, refresh their headsets every 23 months so we simply have a much higher base that will be re-entering the market every two years. Along with this, it is likely that new customers entered at low price points and will trade up and sooner: from surveys, the company has observed that Fortnite players (80mm monthly) that play greater than 3 hours per week replace at a faster rate than the average gamer.

What’s it worth?

In HEAR we have a market leader/giant with a clean balance sheet, identified growth plans in adjacent markets, and secular tailwinds that are likely to continue. The market is currently valuing HEAR as if earnings and revenue are likely to fall off a cliff. At a current market cap (fully diluted) of $222mm, the company is trading at a 23% FCF yield on projected FY18 numbers.

After a normalization year in 2019, with revenue off slightly from 2018, I would expect HEAR to deliver continued growth as it continues to dominate the console headset market while building market share in the PC headset market. The PC market increases HEAR’s addressable market by about 50% and the company will begin targeting a 10-20% market share in the next couple years. The company has already secured shelf space with retailers for this and initial reviews are very positive. Below is the Turtle Beach Atlas Elite review from PCMag.

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 9.47.08 PM

Over time HEAR will look to expand the addressable market by another 50% by entering PC headset markets outside of core markets, specifically China. Finally, add another $1bn of addressable market share through non-headset gaming products like keyboards, mice, and others.

Conclusion

The market is dismissing HEAR as a one-hit wonder when in fact it has a good margin of safety built into the story given current valuations. FCF and EBITDA could both fall 50% and HEAR would be trading around a 10% FCF yield and less than 10.0x EV/EBITDA. Another factor to consider is that a large number of shares are sold short, >75%, which has caused a lot of volatility in the name, likely cherry picked by speculators who only see the 1,000% return YTD. I’m not going to give an absolute value for the company, but I love the margin of safety currently at a >20% FCF yield to FY18 projections.

Thank you for reading!

Disclaimer: I currently own shares of Turtle Beach (HEAR). This is article is opinion only and not a recommendation to buy.

The Wheels on the Bus, Blue Bird Corporation (BLBD) (BLBDW)

One of my favorite books I’ve read in the past few years is Mohnish Pabrai’s The Dhando Investor. Since reading this I’ve devoured all of the great articles and YouTube videos that are out there outlining Mohnish’s value philosophy (I posted links to some of my favorites at the bottom)*.

This article is due in part to Mohnish. One of his larger holdings is in GM and not directly through the common stock but through the company’s 2019 warrants. The warrants trade under the ticker GM/B and give the right to buy GM common stock at $18.33 per share. In essence it is a levered bet, so instead of buying 27 shares with $1000 you can control 54 shares with the same amount of capital. I really liked this idea and it follows Mohnish’s saying of “Heads I win, Tails I don’t lose much.” I’ve never gotten myself around to buying the GM warrants, although I’ve been very close many times. This did, however, inspire me to purchase the company I’ll be writing about today.

Blue Bird Corporation (BLBD) manufactures and designs school buses. The North American Type C and D bus market is controlled by three players: Blue Bird, Thomas Built Buses, and IC Bus. Blue Bird the only independent company of the three. Thomas Built Buses is owned by Daimler and IC Bus is owned by Navistar. In 2016 the market share was divided as such: Thomas Built Buses 35%, IC Bus 34%, and Blue Bird 31%. I think it is safe to say that the North American Type C and D bus market has a fairly deep moat around it. Schools have trusted Blue Bird since the 1920s and its dealership networks are very entrenched (leading to 90% of sales). Not only do I think the company has a pretty deep moat around it, I also love the warrants available under the ticker BLBDW. Each warrant gives the right to purchase 0.5 shares for $5.75, (2 warrants for 1 share at $11.50).

As of market close on 1/27/17, the underlying common stock was at $16.95, implying a market cap of $383mm. The warrants were trading at $2.75.

The bus industry hit a trough in 2011, as there were only 23,821 Type C/D registrations, significantly below the mean since 1985 of 30,500 annual registrations. As the industry has recovered, Blue Bird has consistently gained market share. In 2010, Blue Bird had a 23% market share, rising to 31% in FY2016. This has been driven by the company’s significant dealer network within the U.S. as well as leadership in the alternative fuels space, offering propane, gas, and CNG buses. In FY2016 Blue Bird’s sales of propone vehicles increased 33%. I think Blue Bird’s leadership in alternative fuels will help drive outperformance for the company going forward.

It is important to note that Blue Bird has a large majority shareholder, private equity firm American Securities. They own 53% of the common stock and it is worth mentioning that they attempted to purchase the other 47% in the summer of 2016. American Securities had offered to pay $12.80-13.10/share for the remaining shares it didn’t own, an offer that was rejected by a special committee formed by the Board of Directors.

Blue Bird is projecting 2017 sales to rise 6% to $980-1,010mm, EBITDA to rise to $72-76mm and FCF to rise to $38-42mm. At an EV/EBITDA of 6.5x, a FCF Yield of ~10%, and a forward P/E less than 12x, the stock and warrants seem very attractive. Given Blue Bird’s position in an industry that has a deep moat and multiple avenues for future growth (alternative fuel buses, sales to the commercial market, potential for development of an electric vehicle) I feel that shares and warrants present a great value at current prices.

*

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOoaNYQHaYY  (Mohnish Pabrai at lecture BC)

Hitting a Double, for the Price of a Single (BATRA/BATRB/BATRK)

Liberty Media Corporation distributed tracking stock* in April associated with the company’s ownership of the Atlanta Braves. With virtually no pro sports franchises available to invest in, in the public markets I figured it was at least worth a look. I think the market currently is vastly undervaluing the assets an investor gets exposure to through the Liberty Braves company (BATRA/BATRB/BATRK)*.

 

Through BATRA you not only get exposure to a pro sports franchise in a top-10 market but ownership of the real-estate development surrounding the team’s new stadium, as well as a fast-growing technology company looking to capitalize on the cord-cutting trend. All of this is currently valued by the market at approximately $1.195bn which I feel currently barely recognizes the value of the Atlanta Braves, assuming no future growth, while ignoring the real estate and technology assets. Note that the market value mentioned above will conflict with market value indicated by the stock as Liberty Media holds a 15.5% equity stake in Liberty Braves not indicated in the shares outstanding.

 

 

Atlanta Braves

Valuing a pro sports franchise is different than your typical valuation exercise as virtually no team is publically traded and value is typically only recognized in a sale. Sales have occurred infrequently lately in large part due to the increases in franchise values in recent years. Despite this, let’s attempt to get an arbitrary value for the Atlanta Braves. Through the first 9mos of 2016, Liberty Braves’ revenues totaled $244mm. Analyst estimates call for $247mm in 2016 as the business is very seasonal, with Q1 and Q4 experiencing very low revenues due to almost no games being played unless the team makes a playoff run.

 

There have been 6 private market sales of pro sports franchises since 2012. Excluding outliers, the average price to sales ratio was 4.5x. Applying this metric to the Braves would give us a $1.1bn valuation.

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-7-26-49-pm(Source: Liberty Media investor presentation)

 

But this isn’t an accurate depiction of value as the Braves have a brand new stadium opening in 2017. If you look at the six most recent MLB new stadiums, the teams experienced an average 19% 1-year revenue bump. Applying this to projected 2016 revenue, then applying the 4.5x transaction multiple, gives us a more accurate valuation estimate of $1.3bn.

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-7-28-16-pm

(Source: Liberty Media investor presentation)

The intriguing part to me is that the market barely even recognizes the value of the Braves and there are two more assets that investors get exposure to.

 

Real Estate

The Braves also own the real estate development around the new ballpark, including the following assets:

 

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-7-36-31-pmscreen-shot-2017-01-06-at-7-36-57-pmscreen-shot-2017-01-06-at-7-37-21-pmscreen-shot-2017-01-06-at-7-37-35-pmscreen-shot-2017-01-06-at-7-37-57-pm

(Source: Liberty Media investor presentation)

 

The real estate development is on schedule to be completed throughout 2017. Net equity value when adjusting for third-party investment and Braves-level debt is $200mm.

 

MLB Advanced Media

Finally, probably the most exciting asset the Braves stock gives us exposure to. All 30 MLB teams have an equal ownership stake in Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM). MLBAM is the media arm of Major League Baseball operating all 30 teams websites, streaming MLB games as well as handling streaming capabilities for the WWE, NHL, PGA Tour, and even HBO.

 

In early 2016 Walt Disney purchased 1/3 of BAM Tech, MLBAM’s streaming technology company, for $1bn with an option to own up to 2/3rds of the company over the next four years. This values each team’s stake at $67mm. When CEO Bob Iger was making the rounds on CNBC and Bloomberg post-investment, he was very clear that the goal of the BAM Tech stake is to partner the company with ESPN to create an over-the-top sports package to sell directly to consumers. With each company’s stake in BAM Tech currently at $67mm, I would safely wager that the value of that position is much higher given where the media landscape is likely headed.

 

Conclusion

The market currently is valuing the Liberty Braves at $1.195bn. If we add up our three value estimates: Atlanta Braves $1.3bn, Mixed-use Real Estate Development $200mm, BAM Tech stake $67mm. This gives us a total value of $1.567bn, a 31% discount to market value. It is important to note that our calculation concerned values of the assets and did not include any growth assumptions for the Braves, which would in turn lead to growth for the real estate surrounding the ballpark. It also assumed the value of the BAM Tech stake based on the Walt Disney investment, assuming no earnings growth associated with Disney’s partnership.

To compare to the stock outstanding, make sure to adjust for Liberty Media’s 15.5% equity stake that is not included in the shares outstanding.

 

Full disclosure, this is one of the companies I bought when I rebalanced my portfolio for 2017. I think it is a great value and you basically get the Braves, with no upside, through the current price with free option values on the real estate and the BAM Tech stake.

 

Please comment and tell me how wrong I am!

 

 

 

 

* The goal of the tracking stock is to better differentiate the performance and value of separate businesses within the company while hopefully reducing NAV discounts and boosting the parent stock price.

 

*There are 3 separate tickers out there associated with the Liberty Braves: BATRA, BATRB, and BATRK. BATRA has 1 vote per share, BATRB has 10 votes per share, and BATRK has no votes attributable.