Hoovers HOOV W
December 28, 2001 - 3:09pm EST by
zach721
2001 2002
Price: 3.30 EPS
Shares Out. (in M): 0 P/E
Market Cap (in $M): 51 P/FCF
Net Debt (in $M): 0 EBIT 0 0
TEV ($): 0 TEV/EBIT

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Description

Hoovers, Is a profitable (operating CF) growth story trading at an
exceptionally low valuation (63% of mkt cap in Cash, EV/sales 63%, Insiders
and company buying back stock). Hoovers business sports high barriers to
entry, highly differientiated business model, many proprietary advantages,
and is a healthy growing business. Hoovers operates sites in 5 countries and
in 4 languages (French, Italian, German, and Spanish).

Intro: Hoovers is the largest pure business information portal: 2.5mm users,
300,000 paying subscribers, 400 million page views annually. HOOV site is
designed to provide business information to Corporate Enterprise users
(Sales, Marketing, R&D, and Senior Management). The company dominates the
small and medium sized corporate market for sales and marketing
professionals(101% subscriber growth yr/yr). Hoovers also has a strong large
corp base cusomers include: IBM, HP, UPS, Merrill Lynch, GM, Sun, Texas
Instruments, etc. The company has 4 high margin revenue streams:
Subscriptions (70% of revenues), Advertising, Licensing of content to other
sites, and CD-ROM/Print(of hoov handbooks). 80% of company's revenues are
locked in by 1 year contracts.

Compelling Factors:
1)Hoovers is Debt Free, and has $1.95 a share in cash ($29.9mm)vs. $51mm mkt
cap (62% of market cap is in cash)
2) Company has generated Positive operating Cash Flow over the last 2 qtrs
$1.8mm vs. EV =$20mm Operating Cash flow I estimate will be close to $4.8mm
this yr.
3) Subscription business should grow north of 40% (revenues)(first 6 months
up 54%) and 100% in terms of enterprise users (7400)

4) GAAP Net Income Profitabilty (March '02)the company has EPS power of
.25-.35 for next yr.

Strong Balance-Sheet:
DSO's are @ 34 days down from 50 in March. Cash makes up 88% of Current
Assets (76% of Total Assets), A/R make up 8.8% of CA, and inventories: half
of 1%, Fixed Assets: 13.3% of Total assets,Total goodwill and Intangible
assets: $89,000 dollars

Liabilities: Deferred Revenue is up 32% YTD to $6.922mm or 59% of Total
Liabilities.

Insiders/Buybacks
Insiders have bought about 70,000 shares ytd. and Company has bought Buyback
400,000 Shares avg price $2.63 per share YTD. Including (143,333 shares last
qtr)



Margin Expansion
Gross Margins jumped from 51% to 65% yr/yr (sept qtr)
'97 31.10%,
'98 41.40%,
'99 45.80%,
'00 54.03%
'01A 55.89%
'02E 65% (1H 64.2%)

Advertising revenues: fell 50% this yr, However company should benefit with
improving ad mkt in '02. Advertising used to make up 45% of revs now less
than 16%.

Advertisers on Site: Fed Ex, Mercedes, Lexus, Honda, Principal Financial,
IBM, HP, NY Times, WS Journal, Verisign, JP Morgan, Fortune

Hoovers Demographics: 39% of users make over $100K, 75% college educated, 40%
professional/Managerial positions, 95% have purchased over internet = Premium
pricing on Advertising Rebound.

Competitive advantages:
a) Low Cost Leader: 10 seat license $2750 vs. ONES $35,000 per seat.
b) Original Proprietary Content: Hoovers employs over 100 Research Analysts
and Editors to update 18,000 companies in real-time. (also subscribers get
information on 12mm companies from D&B data feed). Competitor OneSource lis.
data from third parties on their platform.
c)4 High Margin Revenue Streams(no other company in the industry has such a
model): Very tough for competitors to compete with: Business.com is
Advertising based (so economic downturn hurts much worse than HOOV, who
reached Operating CF profits in Downturn)Work.com and Office.com had to merge
to survive.
d) Brand Name: Hoovers has been around over 10 years and is the biggest in
terms of total users vs. Office/Work.com, Business.com, OneSource (ONES).

Management: non-promotional and keep their heads down and executed (reached +
CF despite rough market conditions).

Shareholder base:
America Online (AOL) owns 18% of the company, Media General 15%, Larry
Ellison and Mike Milken 7% (through Knowledge Universe holdings), GE 1%.
None of the above can buy more the 49% of company until after May '02.

Operating Leverage:
Mgt stated on last call that for every incremental $1 in revs .90 should drop
to the bottom line, believe longer term that OM should run 20-25%, and GM
70-75%, Company is guiding for 2-3% sequential rev growth, with continued
growth into 4th qtr, Cash should be between $30-31mm,

Expectations:
1) Little/None in the stock (price as dot.BOMB)
2)Mgt. just hired Frank Milano to help get story out (Dec '01). Frank
previously worked in IR internally for Dell and FORG.
3) Company is meeting with interested investors in New York City the week
(late Jan '02) after they report earnings.

Valuation: Peer group EV/sales multiples: (IUSA (2x), EDGR(3.15x),
ONES(1.56x) , FDS 5.86x), HOOV (.62x): avg group EV/sales=2.63 or about 25%
of the peer group.
I estimate Operating cash flow will be about $4.8mm this yr
that is approx. 4x EV/Operating Cash flow for good growth/high margin
company.

Depreciation runs @ .22 per share annually
Min. Capex (on run rate for about .10 per share this yr)
Company should generate significant FCF as company reaches Net Income
profitability.

Industry: Mgt feels they have penetrated less than 2% of potential #
subscribers, believes that Subscription business potential is $140mm
Risks:
1) Illiquidity
2) No Coverage (could stay cheap)
3) Subscriptions revenues drop

Reasons the stk is cheap: 1) Failed acq. by former CEO (he resigned in May
'01, and is chairman) However he did an outstanding job of designing the
business model and successfully guided to CF +. Company had to write off
nearly the entire investment and discont. No Coverage, Significant
shareholder (AOL, Media General, Knowledge Universe, GE, and Mgt own over 50%
of company). The company has not told their story to Wall Street nearly since
IPO.

I estimate revenues will be up 4%, despite advetising revenues falling 50%,
(if advertising revs were flat revs. would have grown 26%)

I think the company could possibly reach GAAP net Income profitability this
qtr, mgt guided to GAAP net Income profitability by 4th qtr of this yr (March
yr end)

Catalyst

1) Valuation (63% mkt cap in cash, EV/Sales .62) 2) Growing company projected to reach GAAP profitability in 4th qtr 3) Insider and Company buying stk 4) Take Out Target
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    Description

    Hoovers, Is a profitable (operating CF) growth story trading at an
    exceptionally low valuation (63% of mkt cap in Cash, EV/sales 63%, Insiders
    and company buying back stock). Hoovers business sports high barriers to
    entry, highly differientiated business model, many proprietary advantages,
    and is a healthy growing business. Hoovers operates sites in 5 countries and
    in 4 languages (French, Italian, German, and Spanish).

    Intro: Hoovers is the largest pure business information portal: 2.5mm users,
    300,000 paying subscribers, 400 million page views annually. HOOV site is
    designed to provide business information to Corporate Enterprise users
    (Sales, Marketing, R&D, and Senior Management). The company dominates the
    small and medium sized corporate market for sales and marketing
    professionals(101% subscriber growth yr/yr). Hoovers also has a strong large
    corp base cusomers include: IBM, HP, UPS, Merrill Lynch, GM, Sun, Texas
    Instruments, etc. The company has 4 high margin revenue streams:
    Subscriptions (70% of revenues), Advertising, Licensing of content to other
    sites, and CD-ROM/Print(of hoov handbooks). 80% of company's revenues are
    locked in by 1 year contracts.

    Compelling Factors:
    1)Hoovers is Debt Free, and has $1.95 a share in cash ($29.9mm)vs. $51mm mkt
    cap (62% of market cap is in cash)
    2) Company has generated Positive operating Cash Flow over the last 2 qtrs
    $1.8mm vs. EV =$20mm Operating Cash flow I estimate will be close to $4.8mm
    this yr.
    3) Subscription business should grow north of 40% (revenues)(first 6 months
    up 54%) and 100% in terms of enterprise users (7400)

    4) GAAP Net Income Profitabilty (March '02)the company has EPS power of
    .25-.35 for next yr.

    Strong Balance-Sheet:
    DSO's are @ 34 days down from 50 in March. Cash makes up 88% of Current
    Assets (76% of Total Assets), A/R make up 8.8% of CA, and inventories: half
    of 1%, Fixed Assets: 13.3% of Total assets,Total goodwill and Intangible
    assets: $89,000 dollars

    Liabilities: Deferred Revenue is up 32% YTD to $6.922mm or 59% of Total
    Liabilities.

    Insiders/Buybacks
    Insiders have bought about 70,000 shares ytd. and Company has bought Buyback
    400,000 Shares avg price $2.63 per share YTD. Including (143,333 shares last
    qtr)



    Margin Expansion
    Gross Margins jumped from 51% to 65% yr/yr (sept qtr)
    '97 31.10%,
    '98 41.40%,
    '99 45.80%,
    '00 54.03%
    '01A 55.89%
    '02E 65% (1H 64.2%)

    Advertising revenues: fell 50% this yr, However company should benefit with
    improving ad mkt in '02. Advertising used to make up 45% of revs now less
    than 16%.

    Advertisers on Site: Fed Ex, Mercedes, Lexus, Honda, Principal Financial,
    IBM, HP, NY Times, WS Journal, Verisign, JP Morgan, Fortune

    Hoovers Demographics: 39% of users make over $100K, 75% college educated, 40%
    professional/Managerial positions, 95% have purchased over internet = Premium
    pricing on Advertising Rebound.

    Competitive advantages:
    a) Low Cost Leader: 10 seat license $2750 vs. ONES $35,000 per seat.
    b) Original Proprietary Content: Hoovers employs over 100 Research Analysts
    and Editors to update 18,000 companies in real-time. (also subscribers get
    information on 12mm companies from D&B data feed). Competitor OneSource lis.
    data from third parties on their platform.
    c)4 High Margin Revenue Streams(no other company in the industry has such a
    model): Very tough for competitors to compete with: Business.com is
    Advertising based (so economic downturn hurts much worse than HOOV, who
    reached Operating CF profits in Downturn)Work.com and Office.com had to merge
    to survive.
    d) Brand Name: Hoovers has been around over 10 years and is the biggest in
    terms of total users vs. Office/Work.com, Business.com, OneSource (ONES).

    Management: non-promotional and keep their heads down and executed (reached +
    CF despite rough market conditions).

    Shareholder base:
    America Online (AOL) owns 18% of the company, Media General 15%, Larry
    Ellison and Mike Milken 7% (through Knowledge Universe holdings), GE 1%.
    None of the above can buy more the 49% of company until after May '02.

    Operating Leverage:
    Mgt stated on last call that for every incremental $1 in revs .90 should drop
    to the bottom line, believe longer term that OM should run 20-25%, and GM
    70-75%, Company is guiding for 2-3% sequential rev growth, with continued
    growth into 4th qtr, Cash should be between $30-31mm,

    Expectations:
    1) Little/None in the stock (price as dot.BOMB)
    2)Mgt. just hired Frank Milano to help get story out (Dec '01). Frank
    previously worked in IR internally for Dell and FORG.
    3) Company is meeting with interested investors in New York City the week
    (late Jan '02) after they report earnings.

    Valuation: Peer group EV/sales multiples: (IUSA (2x), EDGR(3.15x),
    ONES(1.56x) , FDS 5.86x), HOOV (.62x): avg group EV/sales=2.63 or about 25%
    of the peer group.
    I estimate Operating cash flow will be about $4.8mm this yr
    that is approx. 4x EV/Operating Cash flow for good growth/high margin
    company.

    Depreciation runs @ .22 per share annually
    Min. Capex (on run rate for about .10 per share this yr)
    Company should generate significant FCF as company reaches Net Income
    profitability.

    Industry: Mgt feels they have penetrated less than 2% of potential #
    subscribers, believes that Subscription business potential is $140mm
    Risks:
    1) Illiquidity
    2) No Coverage (could stay cheap)
    3) Subscriptions revenues drop

    Reasons the stk is cheap: 1) Failed acq. by former CEO (he resigned in May
    '01, and is chairman) However he did an outstanding job of designing the
    business model and successfully guided to CF +. Company had to write off
    nearly the entire investment and discont. No Coverage, Significant
    shareholder (AOL, Media General, Knowledge Universe, GE, and Mgt own over 50%
    of company). The company has not told their story to Wall Street nearly since
    IPO.

    I estimate revenues will be up 4%, despite advetising revenues falling 50%,
    (if advertising revs were flat revs. would have grown 26%)

    I think the company could possibly reach GAAP net Income profitability this
    qtr, mgt guided to GAAP net Income profitability by 4th qtr of this yr (March
    yr end)

    Catalyst

    1) Valuation (63% mkt cap in cash, EV/Sales .62) 2) Growing company projected to reach GAAP profitability in 4th qtr 3) Insider and Company buying stk 4) Take Out Target
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