Corsair Capital's Investment Thesis on DigitalGlobe: Q2 Letter ~ market folly

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Corsair Capital's Investment Thesis on DigitalGlobe: Q2 Letter

Jay Petschek and Steve Major's Corsair Capital is out with its Q2 2012 investor letter.  In it, they outline their investment thesis on a core position: DigitalGlobe (DGI).  Additionally, they provide updates on Six Flags (SIX), Innophos (IPHS), Aperam (APAM), and TNS (TNS).

Corsair's DigitalGlobe Thesis

Note: the below was written before the announcement that Digital Globe would be merging with GeoEye (GEOY).  Under the terms, GeoEye shareholders will elect either 1.137 shares of DigitalGlobe and $4.10 per share in cash, or 100% of the consideration in cash ($20.27), or 100% of the consideration in stock (1.425 shares of DGI for each share of GEOY owned).  The transaction marks a 34% premium to to GEOY's previous closing price.

For those interested, here's Corsair's original DGI thesis:

One of the hedge fund's core positions is US satellite imaging company, DigitalGlobe (DGI), which provides real-time and archived images from 3 satellites.  DGI co-developed Google Earth as well as Apple's new Maps product.  The company received a takeover offer from competitor GeoEye (GEOY) for $17 per share but DGI rejected it.

Corsair sees strong leadership and expects the company to create value via dividends, share repurchases and "disciplined M&A."  The government effectively represents 50% of their revenue, so that is certainly a risk and is why the stock sold off so hard in February (government spending cuts).  Corsair's view was that the stock already reflected a worst-case scenario and 2012 is a transformational year.  You can read their full case in the letter below. 

Unrelated, but also worth highlighting from the letter: they cite Jim Grant of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, pointing out a potential contrarian signal for equities, noting that "this is the first time in 12 years that pension managers are putting more money into fixed income securities than equities, whereas, just a few years ago they were putting twice as much into equities than in bonds."

Embedded below is Corsair Capital's full Q2 letter:

For more on this hedge fund, head to Corsair's thesis on SunCoke Energy.

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