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Andrew Shapiro  

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  • Willbros Group - Opportunity Strikes In This Beaten-Down $2 Oil Stock [View article]
    We are long term investors with a long term focus. I would not be happy to see q/q deterioration in operating (not backlog) results and progress on Sg&A cuts.

    Still expect backlog decline q/q but how deep? Does it trough and begin to grow before this company loses more sell-side analyst coverage.

    Company's policy of only sell-side analysts being allowed to ask Q's on the conf calls is another self inflicted wound waiting to happen. less Q's = less answers = less transparency. Stupid for a company that needs to turnaround perceptions of its prospective customers and sources of capital.
    Jul 25, 2015. 12:23 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Willbros Group - Opportunity Strikes In This Beaten-Down $2 Oil Stock [View article]
    We are long term investors with a long term focus. I would not be happy to see q/q deterioration in operating (not backlog) results and progress on Sg&A cuts.

    Still expect backlog decline q/q but how deep? Does it trough and begin to grow before this company loses more sell-side analyst coverage.

    Company's policy of only sell-side analysts being allowed to ask Q's on the conf calls is another self inflicted wound waiting to happen. less Q's = less answers = less transparency. Stupid for a company that needs to turnaround perceptions of its prospective customers and sources of capital.
    Jul 25, 2015. 12:23 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Willbros Group - Opportunity Strikes In This Beaten-Down $2 Oil Stock [View article]
    Can't offer you advice but we are not of the belief current price reflects value of this business in the hands of this mgmt or another.
    Jul 24, 2015. 12:54 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Willbros Group - Opportunity Strikes In This Beaten-Down $2 Oil Stock [View article]
    Can't offer you advice but we are not of the belief current price reflects value of this business in the hands of this mgmt or another.
    Jul 24, 2015. 12:54 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In A Year Of Major Events For Reading International, Wanda's Purchase Of Hoyts Turns Our Head [View article]
    AMC hasn't even let the ink dry and is in the midst of finding a new CEO for the surprise departure of Lopez.

    Reading is not in need of nor lacks financing or liquidity. It also does not lack investment discipline and rarely, if ever, has found today's multiples attractive. They picked up the Cal Oaks cinema for VERY low multiple. They are constructing or redeveloping cinemas in DC, Hawaii, San Diego and Auckland, NZ that have been announced or in the press.
    Jul 22, 2015. 04:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In A Year Of Major Events For Reading International, Wanda's Purchase Of Hoyts Turns Our Head [View article]
    If AMC wants to get rid of certain locations, several of Starplex 33 theaters have some geographic market synergies for Reading. http://bit.ly/1Vujeuv

    Reading’s Manville theater is just down the road, 36 minutes and 43 minutes from two of Starplex’s luxury New Jersey multiplex’s, East Brunswick and East Windsor, respectively.
    Starplex’s Ridgefield Park Luxury 12 is 20 minutes out of Manhattan just over the Hudson river from Reading's City Cinemas chain theaters.
    A few Starplex’s are about similar distance from Reading's Angelika Film Centers in Texas.
    A Starplex luxury 11 in Ashburn, VA is about 30 minutes away from Reading's Angelika Film Center Mosiac Center
    Starplex also owns two discount theaters near Reading's in California, a 6-plex only 7 minutes from Reading’s Valley Plaza 16 in Bakersfield and a 7-plex in La Mirada, an hour’s drive from our Cal Oaks cinema. Reading wouldn't want them as discount theaters but their likely closure couldn't hurt Reading's existing theaters.
    Jul 22, 2015. 11:24 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In A Year Of Major Events For Reading International, Wanda's Purchase Of Hoyts Turns Our Head [View article]
    I saw that transaction too and wondered. Its that the Starplex theaters and screens acquired include 65 screens that Starplex itself labels "discount" theaters - http://bit.ly/1Vujeuv

    Discount theaters usually are sitting on costly leases that haven't run their course. They are older, in bad condition and in locations that can't get "first-run" ticket prices.

    We aren't talking about the pretty low $5-$9 tickets Starplex "first-run" theaters can charge or even $10 or $14 that AMC regularly charges but REAL cheap.
    Oklahoma City: $2.00 all shows; $1.00 all day Tuesday. Nominal upcharge for all 3D films.
    Irving Tx: $1.25 all shows before 6PM; $1.75 all shows after 6PM; $.50 all day Tuesday; $2.00 upcharge for all 3D films.
    ElPaso Tx: $2.00 ALL SHOWS; Tues $1.00 All Day; $2.00 upcharge for all 3D films.

    And even worse since concession margins in the industry are 70-80% vs 40% split to exhibitors for movie tix, these discount theaters offer Hot Dogs of only $1!

    In effect in calculating $500K/screen, you are overestimating the screen count of Starplex substantially and underestimating the "purchase price". This was a purchase of more like more a location purchase that AMC is going to spend alot of money upgrading/out-fitting or frankly running off lease liability that was assumed in the purchase on top of the 'all-cash' price.

    Starplex is a small family owned chain that has maybe at most 280 "first-run" screens. So on an 'all-cash' basis we are just starting at $650K/screen.

    Next, clearly these 'first-run' locations aren't up to AMC standards and will probably cost at least $500K-$1MM each, probably more to bring up to AMC standards of new seating and concessions layout, etc. Amortize that cap-ex by about 7 years and you are talking about another $75-$150K/ screen. So no we are up to $725-$800/screen.

    Then, also not disclosed is a substantial lease liability assumed by AMC that the seller is being relieved from, on top of the 'all-cash' amount. (Note, RDI owns many of its locations or with substantial long-terms that rents are below market levels). This could put the deal at around $1MM/screen or more.

    Hoyt's is the AMC or CNK of Aussie/New Zealand (3rd/2nd largest) with top notch first run theaters. There was an 'all-cash' price announced in that deal but we also knew from past transactions with the private equity firm and recent attempt to take Hoyt's public what recent debt levels were.

    Most of Reading's screens in Aus/NZ are in new theaters similarly top-notch or even better than Hoyt's. Reading may not be a nationally known brand here in US (its different chains combine in US to be about 12th largest) but it ranks in size right behind Hoyt's as 4th/3rd in Aus/NZ.

    As I mentioned in this article, this was our first shot at a comp in Aus/NZ that was an extraordinary close peer. I think AMC got a good price/screen for Starplex but it also was a lot higher/screen than you think.

    I hope this additional color helps.
    Jul 22, 2015. 10:20 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Real Industry: A Little Known Investment Firm Riding Aluminum's Coattails Higher [View article]
    Beachwood City Council approves two incentive packages to retain businesses including Real Alloy $RELY http://bit.ly/1IbdSKo
    Jul 21, 2015. 09:41 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Don't Buy Cinemark, Buy Regal Entertainment Instead [View article]
    Sorry can't agree with the author here or the article. Based upon current market valuations, the best priced equity in the theater sector is Reading International. See recent article entitled "In A Year Of Major Events For Reading International, Wanda's Purchase Of Hoyts Turns Our Head" http://seekingalpha.co...
    Jul 19, 2015. 01:19 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Coincidence Of Activism And Shareholder-Friendly Corporate Activities [View article]
    Now this is just a discussion of semantics. We both go back for plenty of time and experience. IMO, Third Avenue, Marty and you have been and will always be activist investors. For more than two decades, we have as well. That you shy from the moniker is driven by perception. I concur Activism is best done and most effective behind the scenes, but it is still activism.

    That some "Johnny come Activist lately's" excessively seek and overly emphasize activist solutions that rely on media attention to facilitate asset gathering doesn't define the category and strategy. Further by these activist investors promising liquidity they and the strategy don't actually have, drives their solution set towards shorter cited vs. LT solutions.

    Under your definition you could classify our work as event driven. But I don't shy away from the activist moniker, I instead prefer to criticize the more narrow focussed new age activist and the terms and conditions that force them to be that way.
    Jul 14, 2015. 10:24 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Coincidence Of Activism And Shareholder-Friendly Corporate Activities [View article]
    I don't disagree that event-driven follower approach is a strategy. However, I believe activism is its own strategy with specific skills and experience required to succeed and the advantages and disadvantages I discussed in my prior comment.

    Certainly activists who take a position in an event driven manager's situation are catalysts that assist in surfacing value for all - including the event driven manager. It should be noted that, while all value investors are not activists, all activists are value investors. An event focussed fund driven to using activism as its "tool" is a relative amateur to a dedicated fund deploying an activist STRATEGY.
    Jul 13, 2015. 04:10 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Willbros Group - Opportunity Strikes In This Beaten-Down $2 Oil Stock [View article]
    @hugsbears - We have access to no greater information than rest of you.
    Jul 13, 2015. 09:34 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Willbros Group - Opportunity Strikes In This Beaten-Down $2 Oil Stock [View article]
    There was some 'window-dressing' selling pressure through end of June with funds not wanting to show ownership of WG in their quarter end portfolio holdings disclosures.

    Recently UBS analyst dropped his price target to $1.50 rather than upgrading due to the much reduced price offering such a high return to his former target that an upgrade was warranted. Typical sell-side following price moves of down-grading and upgrading after the fact.

    Recent S&P credit downgrade was follow of moody's downgrade a while ago.
    Jul 13, 2015. 09:32 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Coincidence Of Activism And Shareholder-Friendly Corporate Activities [View article]
    Interesting position to take as a free-riding follower who has greater exit liquidity at the expense taking on greater risk from inferior information of what the event driver activist or the company will be doing.

    However, what is not being acknowledged in this article is that the event-driven manager is following AFTER the catalyst [the event "driver" activist] becomes visible and certain re-valuation has already occurred by a fairly efficient market (less so in the micro-/small-cap universe). The event "driver" activist like ourselves have accumulated at least 4.99% of the target from manic-depressive sellers perceiving perpetual deterioration or perpetual stagnation at best.

    Furthermore, what the event-driven outside observer/follower may perceive as full value, may not be such for the activist shareholder whose grand plan for value creation may not have ended. Were us activists to continue to drive operating growth of the entity that we have gained substantial intellectual capital in and perhaps insider status (part of what makes our event-driver position less liquid than the event-driven follower) our investment compounds further and tax efficiently with less risk than flipping out to redeploy into a new venture that may bear relatively greater risk for the event-driver activist. Admittedly, the event driven follower is at similar risk in the current activist target vs a newly announced one as it is in an equally informationally inferior trader/follower position. I would hate to be a taxable investor in your event-driven follower strategy vs in an event-driving activist strategy.

    Ironically, your article is an interesting opposition brief to the red herring canard posed by entrenched managements and board alleging activist are short term opportunists. We both know who really fits that characterization. :>)

    As a side note, you should be in the issuer camp to deprive the activist from its current 10 calendar day filing window for 13Ds and amendments. Great illustration of the transfer of proprietary research value from the activist to the event driven free-riding follower.
    Jul 11, 2015. 07:57 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Real Industry: A Little Known Investment Firm Riding Aluminum's Coattails Higher [View article]
    It was just there for the company to monetize off of the russell index purchasing
    Jul 10, 2015. 09:59 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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