If we take all the liabilities of $236.576 mil. and deduct from Current Assets of $524.238 = $287.662 mil of net working capital then divide by 22.666 million outstanding shares to have $12.68 per share of working capital minus all other liabilities and leaving out other assets. Klarman used net-net working capital as approximating the liquidation value of a company–See Chapter 8 in Margin of Safety. So current assets minus (current liabilities + all long-term liabilities) = net-net working capital.
Today the price of SHOS is under $12.68 or $11.90, so yes, the price is trading below net working capital per share, but Graham would not pay more than $8.46 for SHOS given his penchant for a margin of safety of paying no more than two-thirds of net working capital. Obviously, investors might be concerned with falling same-store sales. On the flip side, deep value investors may see comfort with asset value and the type of inventory. Note, that there have been a few well-known deep value investors stepping in 3/Q 2014 like Chou Associates (the Canadian Deep Value Investor) Chou Associates Management-inc-top-holdings/ and video lecture: Guest_Speakers/2009/Chou_2009.htm (worth watching).
The above isn’t a plug for investing in SHOS, but pointing out how I think Graham would view investing in the company.
Advice from Wall Street
The third phone call I made that day was to the brokerage handling the stock offering, Montgomery Securities in San Francisco. The institutional salesman there who had recommended the stock was named Rick. Like just about everybody else at Montgomery, Rick was an aggressive pitchman. The word bulldog gets thrown around a lot, but I don’t think that quite captures the level of mindless tenacity the brokers at Montgomery brought to their work. Picture an angry hyena that hasn’t eaten in a couple of days. Now picture someone throwing a bloody porterhouse in front of it. That is how hard these guys sold their deals.
After I introduced myself, I told Rick about the research I had done and informed him as courteously as I could that I would not be recommending the stock.
“The bank is on the verge of insolvency,” I explained. “If they are this new company’s main customer, that is not going to be good for their earnings or their share price.”
Rick barked into the phone, “How old are you, kid?”
I swallowed hard and replied, “Twenty-five.”
“You’ve got a lot to learn,” Rick growled. “Nobody stops me from collecting a commission. I’m not going to waste my time talking to you. I ‘ll call your boss first thing in the morning.”
The line went dead. I stared at the receiver in disbelief. I didn’t understand d what had just happened. I had informed a representative of a prestigious, well-respected brokerage that a stock they were offering had significant downside risk. I had assumed that he would be grateful for my insights, or at least interested in what I had to say. Instead, he had acted like I had belched in his ear.
In reality, Rick was right: I did have a lot to learn. The idea that someone on Wall Street would give a damn about the truth or doing the right thing by his clients was almost laughably naïve.
…….After thirty years of doing this (analyzing investments and managing money), I can tell you in no uncertain terms that buying stocks on the word of so-called experts in the single biggest mistake an investor can make. … This misplaced faith in Wall Street whizzes is a symptom of a much larger and more destructive problem in the investment world: The cult of the guru. Investors of all types–from fund managers to day-traders to mom-and-pop savers hoping to boost their 401(k) accounts –are constantly looking for a market messiah, someone who’s figured out–once and for all-the magical formula for how to beat the Street. It is an understandable but self-defeating desire, because the people who actually possess these kinds of insights almost NEVER SHARE THEM. (from Dead Companies Walking (2015) by Scott Fearon)
BOILER ROOM: I Became a Stock Broker
6 responses to “Reader’s Q: Would Graham Consider SHOS (Sear’s Hometown) a Net/Net?”