Mick McGuire on Cincinnati Bell, Corrections Corp & NCR Corp ~ market folly

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mick McGuire on Cincinnati Bell, Corrections Corp & NCR Corp

We're posting up notes from the Great Investors' Best Ideas Investment Symposium in Dallas and next up is Mick McGuire of Marcato Capital Management.  He focuses on companies with market caps between $1-5 billion and employs activism where needed.  He previously worked for Bill Ackman's Pershing Square.  He pitched 3 ideas:

Long Cincinnati Bell (CBB)

Trading around an EV of 3.8bn, McGuire highlights that Cincinnati Bell is actually two companies in one: a legacy telecom company that generates cashflow but is declining and a data center/colocation business that is seeing 20% growth year over year.

Currently, CBB uses free cash flow to fund the data center growth.  The stock is disliked by both growth and yield investors so the solution is to split the businesses.

The company will be spinning off its data center business as a REIT.  Then the telco business can de-lever, pay a dividend and repurchase shares.  McGuire is looking for a December or Q1 initial public offering (IPO).  His sum of the parts yields a target price of $8.30.

We just posted yesterday how Marcato Capital Management filed a 13G on CBB and are now one of the largest owners.

Corrections Corp of America (CXW)

This is an oldie but goodie as McGuire's previous employer, Pershing Square, had also owned Corrections Corp in the past.  Marcato Capital Management says this is a name with a hard catalyst in the form of a REIT conversion.

McGuire has been working with Corvex Management on this one (Keith Meister's activist firm) and CXW is waiting on approval.

The fundamental thesis on this name is that there's an "acute overcrowding problem in public prisons."  McGuire argues that private prisons like CXW are a better option and there's significant barriers to entry here.  The average cost per bed is 80k+ for government versus 55-65k for private.  He also points to incremental margins being high.

Given the theme of REIT conversions this year in the markets, McGuire highlighted why it's beneficial to be a REIT: free cashflow by tax savings, superior credit rating, and cap rates.  He says CXW trading at 15x AFFO would be worth $50/share.

NCR Corp (NCR)

McGuire's last idea is National Cash Register (NCR).  They supply ATM's and point of sale (POS) devices.  They have an incumbent position in the market and ATM's are their primary focus.  He likes that they have high barriers to entry due to the frequent servicing requirements of ATMs (Diebold is their main US competitor).

He pointed out that emerging markets are driving growth and that there are often regional duopolies in the segment.  In North America, we're in the midst of a big upgrade cycle for money center banks but it's just begun for smaller banks.  The thought here is that banks pay up for advanced ATMs to reduce in-branch spending.

McGuire also points out that NCR is #2 in self-checkout point of sale, behind IBM.  This has been a big trend popping up around the country.

He points out that the growth is obscured by the company's underfunded pension.  The company issued $600mm in debt at 5% to help fund it.  Marcato Capital Management originally built their position in the spring.  He likes the 11% free cash flow yield and sees 35% upside.  He sees $3.80 in EPS in 2015.

For more from this hedgie, we've previously posted McGuire's 3 ideas from the Value Investing Congress.

For the rest of the presentations, head to notes from the Great Investors' Best Ideas conference.

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