This article by MOI Global instructor John Lewis is excerpted from a letter of Osmium Partners, based in Greenbrae, California.
Travelzoo, together with its subsidiaries, provides travel, entertainment, and local deals from travel and entertainment companies, and local businesses in Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America. The company’s publications and products include Travelzoo Websites; Travelzoo iPhone and Android applications; Travelzoo Top 20 email newsletter; and Newsflash email alert service. It also operates the Travelzoo Network, a network of third-party Websites that list travel deals published by the company; and Local Deals and Getaway services, which allow its subscribers to purchase vouchers for deals from local businesses, including spas, hotels, and restaurants through the Travelzoo Website. The current market capitalization is ~$234 million. (TZOO is a holding across all funds.)
Our cost basis on TZOO is $8.80 per share. TZOO should generate $2.00-2.25 a share in operating income out of the U.S. and Europe in 2019 and guided to Asia profitability by 2020. We think TZOO could potentially generate $3+ per share in operating income in 2020. We have followed TZOO for nearly 16 years.
Travelzoo had Return on Capital of 50% and ROE of 84% for the most recent quarter (and this is with a loss in Asia). We expect TZOO to be over a 100% ROE business without debt. TZOO has 90% gross margins and should target operating margins north of 25% to 30%. North America and Europe are currently at 23% operating margins with guidance of expanding operating margins in 2019.
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Certain factual and statistical (both historical and projected) industry and market data and other information contained herein was obtained by Osmium Partners from independent, third-party sources that it deems to be reliable. However, Osmium Partners has not independently verified any of such data or other information, or the reasonableness of the assumptions upon which such data and other information was based, and there can be no assurance as to the accuracy of such data and other information. Further, many of the statements and assertions contained herein reflect the belief of Osmium Partners, which belief may be based in whole or in part on such data and other information. The analyses provided may include certain statements, assumptions, estimates and projections prepared with respect to, among other things, the historical and anticipated operating performance of the companies. Such statements, assumptions, estimates, and projections reflect various assumptions by Osmium Partners concerning anticipated results that are inherently subject to significant economic, competitive, and other uncertainties and contingencies and have included solely for illustrative purposes. No representations, express or implied, are made as to the accuracy or completeness of such statements, assumptions, estimates or projections or with respect to any materials herein. Actual results may vary materially from the estimates and projected results contained herein. Past Osmium performance is not indicative of future results. Osmium takes concentrated positions. Osmium Partners disclaims any obligation to update this letter. A portion of the Partnership’s assets may from time to time be invested in securities that have limited liquidity. The Partnership’s investment strategy is to make concentrated investments in what it views as its best ideas. The Offering Memorandum and Limited Partnership Agreement offers a comprehensive overview of the risk factors involved in investing with Osmium Partners. The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only. This is not an offer to sell, or a solicitation to buy, limited partnership interests in Osmium. An investment in Osmium is not suitable for all investors. Graphs/charts are provided for illustrative purposes only and should not be relied on to form an investment decision. Stocks mentioned in the newsletter do not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell the individual securities.
About The Author: John Lewis
Mr. John Hartnett Lewis co-founded Osmium Partners, LLC in 2002 and serves as its Chief Investment Officer and Managing Partner. Mr. Lewis served as a Director of Research at Retzer Capital. He was an Equity Research Analyst at Heartland Advisors, Inc. from March 1999 to January 2001. He served as the President of the University of San Francisco MBA Investment Group, where he managed a small portion of the school's endowment fund. Mr. Lewis served as a Director of Spark Networks, Inc. since July 2, 2014 until November 2, 2017. He served as a Director of Intersections Inc. since October 2015 until August 8, 2017. Mr. Lewis is a Guest Columnist for TheStreet.com. He received an M.B.A. from the University of San Francisco in 1999 and a B.A. from the University of Maryland in 1996.
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