Lee Cooperman's Thesis on Covidien & Sirius XM Radio: Omega Advisors Q1 Letter ~ market folly

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Lee Cooperman's Thesis on Covidien & Sirius XM Radio: Omega Advisors Q1 Letter

Lee Cooperman's hedge fund Omega Advisors' Overseas Partners returned 10.9% in the first quarter of 2013 and has seen annualized returns of 16.6% since inception.  We wanted to post an excerpt from Omega's Q1 letter highlighting Cooperman's thesis on Covidien (COV) and Sirius XM Radio (SIRI).

Covidien (COV): A Spin-Off Play

Cooperman likes Covidien because the company is spinning off a lower margin, lower growth business, Mallinckrodt (MNK).  He fancies the standalone COV business afterwards and writes about the spinoff:

"First, it will enable MNK to invest more appropriately in maximizing a number of underappreciated  opportunities in its pharma pipeline, while pruning assets with sub-optimal growth characteristics. Second, by  divesting itself of the lower margin and lower growth MNK businesses, stand-alone COV, which operates in  attractive medical device and supply segments with favorable competitive dynamics and end-market growth,  will drive margin expansion that should translate into a higher multiple in-line with its comparables. We further  expect COV to pursue actions, including cost reductions and capital deployment (noting the recently  announced $3-billion share-repurchase authorization on top of the $425m outstanding on its previous  authorization) to offset the transitory transaction-related tax and other dis-synergies from the spin, thus driving  upside to consensus pro forma estimates. We estimate new COV will generate EPS of $4.58 in FY14 and $5.13  in FY15, while MNK will generate $0.41 in FY14 and $0.48 in FY15, above pro-forma street estimates. Using  conservative target P/E multiples, our sum-of-the-parts valuation implies 25% upside over the next 12 months  against limited downside given the current discount multiple to peers, creating an attractive risk/reward in the  stock approaching the mid-year spin-off of MNK that is likely to act as a catalyst for the shares."

COV has been largely favored by 'vanilla' managers such as mutual funds and index funds.  Looking at the top holders, there weren't many hedge funds involved as of the end of Q1 but that could have changed since then due to the impending spin-off.

Omega's Thesis on Sirius XM (SIRI)

Cooperman's fund has held a SIRI position for a while, but continues to like the name because the company has a ton of subscribers and has negotiating leverage when acquiring exclusive content.  Omega has identified four growth drivers for Sirius XM:

"First, SIRI can be more proactive in  addressing the used-car market and converting people who have the hardware in the car into paying subscribers  at little to no cost. Second, a rising SAAR lends itself to higher additions from new-car sales. Third, current  estimates of almost 100-million cars with SIRI preinstalled by 2017 points to massive potential over the next  few years compared with the current installed base. And fourth, the price hike announced in 2011 and  implemented over the last year demonstrates significant pricing power embedded in this model. We believe  that the best way to value SIRI is on a free-cash-flow per share metric as the company has over $7 billion in  gross NOLs, is buying back shares aggressively, and at these levels the amount of NOL per share increases via  the buyback. Therefore, the more aggressive SIRI is, the longer the NOL lasts per share...to the point where, in  our models, if the stock stays at $3.00 per share, it is possible to buy back the entire company before the NOL  runs out. We think downside is limited and see significant potential in the years ahead for SIRI, with a price  objective of $5 using a low-teen multiple of 2015 cash flow."

SIRI has been a favorite play among many hedge funds.  While Omega Advisors is one of the top institutional holders of SIRI, other hedge funds involved as of the end of Q1 include: Blue Ridge Capital, Coatue Management, Slate Path Capital, and Hound Partners.

Not to mention, John Malone's Liberty Media (LMCA) has amassed quite a sizable stake in SIRI

Omega Looking At Infrastructure Plays Too

Cooperman and his colleague Steve Einhorn point out in their Q1 letter that infrastructure-related investments should do well going forward and they've been searching for potential investments as they see a quest for energy independence and a manufacturing renaissance as catalysts.

For more from this hedge fund manager, we recently highlighted Omega's new position in PennyMac Financial Services and also flagged  Cooperman's market thoughts from the SALT Conference.  

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