Friday, August 15, 2014

Cashing in; What’s the Business Worth?

Interesting article, and, apparently, it’s the first of several installments:

Autodesk reported strong results for its y/e 2015 second quarter

Here’s a portion of the "note" posted, this morning, about Autodesk by a Morningstar Research analyst:

Autodesk reported surprisingly strong second-quarter fiscal 2015 results. The firm upgraded its full-year fiscal 2015 guidance and now expects billings growth of 10%-12% (from 7%-9%), revenue growth of 7%-9% (from 4%-6%), a non-GAAP operating margin of 15-16% (from 14%-16%), and net subscription additions of 200,000-250,000 (from 150,000 to 200,000). The company noted a strong demand environment across all geographic segments, good adoption of suite products, and a continued successful transition to a subscription-based business model. As a result, we have updated our financial model and raised our fair value estimate to $54 from $51. We retain our wide moat rating.
For the quarter, revenue rose 13% to $637 million on a reported and constant currency basis. Revenue in the Americas, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Asia Pacific, and emerging economies all grew double-digits during the quarter and reflected a strong broad-based demand environment. Interestingly, standalone AutoCAD LT sales, which had been waning, were resilient during the quarter after the firm launched a desktop subscription offering, which helped boost the Flagship segment. Autodesk’s traditional Architecture, Engineering and Construction and Manufacturing businesses were strong given the adoption of building information modelling, industrial machinery, consumer, and automotive products. Non-GAAP operating margins remained under pressure, and slipped to 18% from 24% in the prior year, as the firm reinvested in its business model transition, cloud infrastructure, and bolt-on acquisitions.

Autodesk's subscription transition is progressing ahead of internal and external expectations. We think the company’s fiscal 2018 financial targets look appropriate and we are encouraged by the market’s adoption of subscriptions (74,000 new subscribers were added during the quarter). Still, the stock is trading slightly above our fair value and we would seek a wider margin of safety before investing.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Check out John Switzer’s new “EasyWider” web-site and blog!

Now up on John’s web-site, a primer for anyone involved in the wide-format imaging industry.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Levine Leichtman Partners with Management to Acquire FASTSIGNS International

Blog Publisher’s Comment:

FastSigns was founded by Gary Salomon, but Gary sold most of his stake in FastSigns International years ago, at the time he retired from active management in the company.  Shortly after that (or around that time), Catherine Monson joined the company as its CEO, and Catherine has done an outstanding job growing FastSign International’s business.  Congratulations to Catherine on her partnership with Levine Leichtman Partners!

Levine Leichtman Capital Partners has partnered with management to complete the acquisition of FASTSIGNS International.

Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, has partnered with management to complete the acquisition of FASTSIGNS International. FASTSIGNS is the market leading franchisor in the custom sign and graphics industry with nearly 550 franchised locations across 44 US states and eight international countries with additional franchises recently sold and soon to open in the UAE and Northern Africa. FASTSIGNS is a sign, graphics and visual communications company that helps customers of all sizes – across all industries – meet their business objectives and increase their business visibility. Some of the products and services that FASTSIGNS uses to provide comprehensive solutions include vehicle, floor and window graphics, point of purchase signs, digital signs, labels and decals, architectural and interior d├ęcor signs, printing, promotional products and wearables, mobile marketing and other related marketing services. FASTSIGNS was founded in 1985 and is headquartered outside of Dallas, TX.
FASTSIGNS is the fourth investment from Levine Leichtman Capital Partners V, L.P. Lauren Leichtman, Co-Founder and CEO of LLCP, said, “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Catherine Monson whom has driven strong performance and solidified FASTSIGNS’ position as the market leader since joining as CEO in 2009. The Company’s growth prospects and strong cash flow characteristics resemble those of past successful LLCP franchise investments, and we look forward to our partnership with the Company to generate another great outcome.”

Catherine Monson, FASTSIGNS Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Having a partner that understands franchising and the importance of providing valuable support to franchisees was critical to us in selecting our next financial partner. The deep experience LLCP has investing in franchise businesses inspired great confidence among my management team that they are the right partner to support our continued growth.” FASTSIGNS was advised by North Point Advisors.