Category Archives: Opportunities

April SA – Potential buyout offer from CVC: Interesting Special Situation ?

Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Please do your own research. 

April SA is an “Old friend” on this blog. I owned the stock in the past and last time I looked at them when a rumour came up that the company is for sale in late October.

This is what I said back then:

April had shown actually pretty decent growth in Q3 and I actually considered buying some shares but maybe this is not so sustainable and the founder wants to sell before it is getting worse again ? Who knows…

My fundamental assessment of April is that they have a strong core business (French Broker) but have over extended themselves internationally and the founder, Bruno Rousset, who stepped down in 2014, does not have the energy anymore to turn this around himself.

Well, things have progressed. There had been a “beauty contest” with PE bidders and it looks now that PE shop CVC is highly interested in buying the stake of the founder and majority owner. This is from a piece of news released by April SA and  CVC end of December:

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My 22 (+1) investments for 2019

Edit: I actually forgot to include Expedia…..

This post has become now a small tradition at the end of December and is also very helpful for me to review my holdings.

The summaries of the previous years can be found here:

My 21 investments for 2018
My 27 investments for 2017
My 27 investments for 2016
My 28 investments for 2015
My 24 investments for 2014
My 22 investments for 2013

From the 21 stocks of last year, 4 have left the portfolio:

Silver Chef and Metro were clear mistakes from my side and I exited them as discussed with significant losses. IGE & XAO was a much more positive case. The company received a buy-out offer from Schneider SA and I exited at 138 EUR per share. DOM Security finally was merged into the main shareholder company SFPI. Luckily, I could sell 40% of my holdings at 75 EUR/ share.

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Ahlsell (ISIN SE0009155005) – Interesting pre-Christmas Special Situation ?

Disclaimer: This is not investment advice, only the personal opinion of an anonymous blogger. PLEASE DO YOU OWN RESEARCH !!!!

Background:

Ahlsell is a Swedish company that distributes building / renovation related products mainly to craftsmen in the Nordic Region. In 2012, the company was taken private by private equity house CVC.

In 2016, Ahlsell was IPOed again by CVC at SEK 46 per share. They sold 1/3 of their shares in the IPO and then down to 25,1% just some weeks ago.

Then more or less out of the blue a few days ago, CVC offered again to take Ahlsell private at 55 SEk/share which translates into a valuation slightly north of 2 bn EUR for the equity.

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Landis & Gyr (ISIN CH0371153492): Potentially interesting “Forced IPO” Special Situation ?

Background

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Landis & Gyr, the Swiss based company was on my research “to do” list for some time. Why ? Because it looked very much like a “forced IPO” special situation when in Summer 2017 then almost bankrupt Japanese Conglomerate Toshiba decided to sell Landis & Gyr which was deemed to be one of their crown jewels.

Toshiba itself had bought Landis & Gyr in 2011 for around 2 bn USD from a Private Equity Seller (Bayard) who in turn had bought Landis & Gyr from KKR (via DEMAG), another PE shop in 2004. Back then, Landis & GYr had around 390 mn EUR in sales and it was rumoured that the purchase price was quite low at around 100 mn EUR (those were the days…..).

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Cars.com (CARS) – Interesting spin-off opportunity ?

Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH !!!

 

logo-cars

Cars.com is a recent (May 31st) spin-off from publishing company Tegna, which itself is a spin-off of the Gannet publishing Group. Interestingly, Gannet/Tegna only bought control of cars.com in 2014 for a total value of 1,8 bn USD.

Cars.com – The business & Market

Cars.com is a typical “Online classified” business, meaning that it collects offers of merchandise (in this case cars), aggregates and sorts them and then shows it to as many potential customers as possible.

The economic value of such a “service” is relatively easy to explain: For a potential customer, it saves time because he can look at and compare different offers at one place. For the sellers, such a service is basically an advertising and/or sales channel which ideally reaches many potential customers.

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Spin-off/IPO updates: Metro/Ceconomy, Brighthouse Financial, ALD SA

Metro/Ceconomy

I had briefly written about the Metro/Ceconomy Spin-off in January. After some legal hassles, the spin-off took place last week last.

This is what I wrote back then:

With 327 mn shares outstanding, this would translate into ~6,20 EUR per share as a lower bound value for Ceconomy under my (very rough assumptions).

It think at or below this price, Ceconomy could be an interesting “Ugly duck” spin-off investment.

Interestingly, Ceconomy had a very good start, opening around 9,40 EUR and has gone above 10 EUR per share, far above my buying threshold.

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Special Situation Updates: Actelion/Idorsia, Gagfah, SAPEC & Stada

A lot has happened over the last few weeks for my 4 largest special situation investments:

Actelion / Idorsia

The original Actelion idea was very simple: Buy an M&A target at a small discount which is relatively safe and get something (the Idorsia spin-off) extra which no one seemed to have noticed.

Although the case played out exactly as I thought and Idorsia even seems to be worth more than I assumed, I only made around +4% on it. Not bad for around 5 months but not great either.

Looking back I think I made 3 mistakes:

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