A lot of investors and analysts considering eBay (EBAY) are focused primarily on the upcoming PayPal spinoff. For example, Seeking Alpha contributor Daniel James recently considered the effects the spinoff may have on the core eBay business and Alex Cho argued that investors should consider owning both companies. However, it is critical when analyzing eBay to consider the company’s intrinsic value in relation to its price.
In fact, Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing, taught that the most important aspect to consider is whether a company is trading at a discount relative to its intrinsic value. It is through a thorough fundamental analysis that the investor is able to make a determination about a potential investment’s merits. Here’s a look at how the company fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.
The model is inspired by the teachings of Benjamin Graham and considers numerous metrics intended to help the investor reduce risk levels. The first part of the analysis is to determine whether the company is suitable for the very conservative Defensive Investor or the less conservative Enterprising Investor who is willing to spend a greater amount of time conducting further research.
In addition, Graham strongly suggested that investors avoid speculation in order to remove the subjective elements of emotion. This is best achieved by utilizing a systematic approach to analysis that will provide investors with a sense of how a specific company compares to another. By using the ModernGraham method, one can review a company’s historical accomplishments and determine an intrinsic value that can be compared across industries.
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Defensive Investor – Must pass at least 6 of the following 7 tests: Score = 3/7
- Adequate Size of Enterprise – Market capitalization of at least $2 billion – PASS
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition – Current ratio greater than 2 – FAIL
- 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 the beginning and end of the period – PASS
- Moderate PEmg (price over normalized earnings) 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 = 4/5
- 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 – PASS
- Earnings Stability – Positive earnings per share for at least 5 years – PASS
- Dividend Record – Currently pays a dividend – FAIL
- Earnings Growth – EPSmg greater than that 5 years ago – PASS
|Value Based on 3% Growth||$27.35|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$16.03|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||11.65%|
|Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)||$0.99|
Balance Sheet – March 2015
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham
eBay does not pay a dividend.
eBay passes the initial requirements of the Enterprising Investor but not the more conservative Defensive Investor. The Defensive Investor is concerned with the low current ratio, the lack of dividends, and the high PEmg and PB ratios. The Enterprising Investor is only concerned by the lack of dividends. As a result, all value investors should feel very comfortable proceeding to the next part of the analysis, which is a determination of the company’s intrinsic value.
When it comes to valuation, it is critical to consider the company’s earnings history. In this case, the company has seen its EPSmg (normalized earnings) rise from $1.75 in 2011 to only an estimated $1.89 for 2015. This is a weak level of earnings growth, and does not support the market’s implied estimate for 11.65% annual growth over the next 7-10 years.
In fact, the recent earnings growth has averaged only 1.6% per year, so the market is expecting a very significant shift in earnings in order to justify the current price. The ModernGraham valuation model returns an estimate of intrinsic value falling below the market’s price, indicating that the company is overvalued at the present time.
Disclaimer: The author did not hold a position in any of the companies listed in this article at the time of publication and had no intention of changing that position within the next 72 hours. Logos taken from either the company website or Wikipedia; this article is not affiliated with the companies in any manner.