Benjamin Graham taught that Intelligent Investors must do a thorough fundamental analysis of investment opportunities to determine their intrinsic value and inherent risk. This is best done by utilizing a systematic approach to analysis that will provide investors with a sense of how a specific company compares to another company or by reviewing the 5 Most Undervalued Companies for the Defensive Investor – May 2015. By using the ModernGraham method one can review a company’s historical accomplishments and determine an intrinsic value that can be compared across industries. What follows is a specific look at how Priceline Group Inc. (PCLN) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.
Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): Priceline Group Inc., formerly Priceline.Com Incorporated, provides online travel company that connects consumers wishing to make travel reservations with providers of travel services around the world. The Company offers consumers accommodation reservations through its Booking.com, priceline.com and Agoda.com brands. In the United States, the Company also offers consumers reservations for rental cars, airline tickets, vacation packages and cruises through the priceline.com brand. The Company offers rental car reservations worldwide through rentalcars.com. The Company also allows consumers to easily compare airline ticket, hotel reservation and rental car reservation information from hundreds of travel websites at once through KAYAK’s websites and mobile applications. The Company’s services include International, United States and Meta-search Services.
Defensive Investor – must pass at least 6 of the following 7 tests: Score = 4/7
- Adequate Size of Enterprise – market capitalization of at least $2 billion – PASS
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition – current ratio greater than 2 – PASS
- Earnings Stability – positive earnings per share for at least 10 straight years – PASS
- Dividend Record – has paid a dividend for at least 10 straight years – FAIL
- Earnings Growth – earnings per share has increased by at least 1/3 over the last 10 years using 3 year averages at beginning and end of period – PASS
- Moderate PEmg ratio – PEmg is less than 20 – FAIL
- Moderate Price to Assets – PB ratio is less than 2.5 or PB x PEmg is less than 50 – FAIL
Enterprising Investor – must pass at least 4 of the following 5 tests or be suitable for a defensive investor: Score = 3/5
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 1 – current ratio greater than 1.5 – PASS
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 2 – Debt to Net Current Assets ratio less than 1.1 – FAIL
- Earnings Stability – positive earnings per share for at least 5 years – PASS
- Dividend Record – currently pays a dividend – FAIL
- Earnings growth – EPSmg greater than 5 years ago – PASS
|MG Opinion||Fairly Valued|
|Value Based on 3% Growth||$597.70|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$350.38|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||10.47%|
|Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)||-$42.84|
Balance Sheet – March 2015
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham
Priceline does not pay a dividend.
Priceline Group Inc. is not suitable for either the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor. The Defensive Investor is concerned with the lack of dividends, and the high PEmg and PB ratios. The Enterprising Investor is concerned with the level of debt relative to the net current assets and the lack of dividends. As a result, value investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should explore other opportunities. As for a valuation, the company appears to be fairly valued after growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $12.34 in 2011 to an estimated $41.22 for 2015. This level of growth supports the market’s implied estimate of 10.47% annual growth over the next 7-10 years, leading the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value within a margin of safety relative to the price.
The next part of the analysis is up to individual investors, and requires discussion of the company’s prospects. What do you think? What value would you put on Priceline Group Inc. (PCLN)? Where do you see the company going in the future? Is there a company you like better? Leave a comment on our Facebook page or mention @ModernGraham on Twitter to discuss.
Disclaimer: The author did not hold a position in any company mentioned in this article at the time of publication and had no intention of changing that position within the next 72 hours. Logo taken from Wikipedia for the sole purpose of identifying the company; this article is not affiliated with the company in any manner.