Bogumil Baranowski of Sicart Associates presented his in-depth investment thesis on Cars.com (US: CARS) at Best Ideas 2020.
Cars.com is one of the leading online car listing sites, with net sales of ~$620 million. Dealers and individuals pay a fee to list vehicles. The other major profitable direct competitors are private. The competitive advantage comes from the traffic to the site/app and the dealership relationships. The online shift is still underway, and Cars.com has a strong and improving position as well as an ability to capture market share and profits in this niche, attractive market segment.
Cars.com has been around for two decades and used to be a part of big publishing companies. It was spun off in 2017. The shares initially traded sideways. Eventually, an activist investor bought a stake and pushed for a sale, bidding up the price from the mid-$20s to about $30 per share. When management decided against a sale, the shares eventually dropped under $10 per share. The shares were recently quoted at ~$12 per share.
Putting a potential sale aside and looking at the business itself, we see that it has room to grow and improve. There are also some catalysts that may help improve profits, margins, and the depressed stock price. The balance sheet carries some debt due to the separation from its former parent company. Cars.com shares recently traded for less than 10x normalized earnings. Bogumil believes they could double over the next 3-5 years.
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About the instructor:
Bogumil Baranowski is a founding partner of Sicart Associates, a New York City based boutique investment firm catering to families and entrepreneurs on both sides of the Atlantic and the Pacific. He has almost 15 years of investment experience, and holds a Master’s degree in Finance and Strategy from Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), and a Master’s in Finance and Banking from Warsaw School of Economics. He is the author of Outsmarting the Crowd – A Value Investor’s Guide to Starting, Building and Keeping a Family Fortune (2015), and Money, Life, Family: My Handbook: My complete collection of principles on investing, finding work & life balance, and preserving family wealth (2019). He is a TEDx Speaker, and a former Executive Board member of one of the oldest and most advanced Toastmasters International clubs in New York City, and an Instructor at MOI Global (The Community of Intelligent Investors). His articles regularly appear on Seeking Alpha.
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