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Timothy Phillips  

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  • Amidst Rising Debt, The Amazon CFO Quits [View instapost]
    Good read really_now ... hard-hitting and entertaining. I agree with your conjecture - and the facts are the facts - they are in trouble.

    Constructive criticism: Use of the adjective "some" in the 1st sentence is unnecessary and starts the article off with a very arrogant & dismissive tone. Replace "some" with "a" or better, the analysts name, and it may have changed the tone.
    Sep 13, 2014. 08:37 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Amazon Has No Profits (And Why It Works) [View article]
    Capex is a normal and large cost of business for most companies every quarter. It covers both normal operating needs in replenishing assets, and new investments for growth. Since depreciation is a nice view of the run rate avg of capital costs you can compare to the current capex spend make a judgment on how much is investment vs. replenishment.

    AMZN is growing at 20% per annum, and probably only half their business is capital intense .. that would mean you would expect Capex to run about 10% higher than depreciation to replenishment existing biz and to sustain their projected growth.

    Check what it has been (less the HQ spend) - around 10% higher. This means capex has not held FCF back, and there is no magic above avg growth coming for AMZN from capex.
    Sep 8, 2014. 08:55 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Amazon Has No Profits (And Why It Works) [View article]

    The article implies that capex will decrease as a % of OCF, but that is not the case. The capex increases are nearly all AWS and content expense - which drives the "other" revenue growth and prime. W/O the increased Capex AWS could not grow. The fulfillment center build-out is largely leased and is why fulfillment continues to grow as a % of revenue (and it is a real cash expense - and will continue to grow). The increase in shipping costs as a % of revenue are structural, and will continue.

    It is not a good idea to look at OCF only, which includes depreciation added back in, and ignore Capex. Depreciation is running at about the level of capex for the past 2 years (if you exclude the $1.4B for the new HQ). So, your argument of recent huge Capex driving low FCF is misleading. They really only replaced depreciation with a small increase - which is what they have to do with a cloud and content business.
    Sep 6, 2014. 09:26 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Amazon: It Gets Weirder And Weirder [View article]
    The shares price turnaround was tied to the bullish 3P SSS revenue report by Channel Advisor in before the market open on 8/13 (that started the run). July was the fastest growing month for AMZN in over a year (40.4%), while eBay struggled.

    This of course should have been expected by analysts as 3P comparisons have been hampered by the eBooks accounting change for the past year (AMZN has been shifting 3P sales to 1P at 8x the revenue). Q3 is the 1st Q in which we have an apples to apples Year on year comparison again. This means that 1P will have headwinds in Q3, and 3P will back to normal.

    Paulo has talked about this for quite some time, but to no avail. This 25 point move up the past 2 weeks has all been based on a bad assumption.
    Aug 28, 2014. 08:22 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Amazon: It Gets Weirder And Weirder [View article]
    Ahhh .. just like old times ... they spend $1B in cash on a money losing operation that only generates $50m/yr in revs pushing their current ratio from 1.0 to 0.88, and they are rewarded by the stock increasing $8, or $4B in market cap. That is a 4x return on their cash in 1 day. Who needs profits or buying back stock when that kind of return is available?

    If this doesn't feel like 2010 I don't know what does.

    Every Q their stock gets crushed when investors look at actual performance. then the 90 days in between fluff and pump comes out and everyone dreams of profit that will never come.
    Aug 26, 2014. 11:34 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • One Thing Is Odd [View article]
    Gary - if Price is truth, AMZN is not doing so well relative to the market in 2014, so something is different. AMZN is down 16.7% in 2014, while the S&P500 is up 8.5%. Not very good Alpha (-25%) over an 8 month period.
    Aug 25, 2014. 08:04 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Amazon: Profit Is Not In The Dictionary [View article]
    Its been 20 years of "short-term investments" that have never paid off. Just look at their ROIC .. you can get a better yield on 10-yr US T-Bill (and that ain't saying much).

    There must be some basis/facts you can point me to that lead you to your "belief" that these businesses are profitable underneath the "investment". I have been searching and digging for three years and have not been able to find it. What I have found is that if you model the "investments" as expenses tied to their revenue stream, you can predict very closely how Amazon opex performs over a multi-quarter/year period. My model has been just about dead nuts on each Q, where the analysts are always surprised. (but they continue to raise targets anyway)
    Aug 21, 2014. 08:03 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Amazon: Profit Is Not In The Dictionary [View article]
    And how do you know that 12322561?

    Paulo and I have shown through our work that Amazon's losses are structural - both due to mix (EGM vs. media) and through fulfillment and T&C costs growing predictably faster than revenue. Their losses are not from capital investments, they are from operating expenses tied to revenue .. these are not going to decline - in fact they grow faster than revenue.

    There is no magical "switch" they can throw to run profitable. This should be clear after all of these years, but it is lost on exuberance. This will get ugly as cash continues to run low as debt runs up.
    Aug 19, 2014. 07:05 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • One Thing Is Odd [View article]
    Paulo - I think you got it right, its the fact that the offering is coming. They must be out pitching the stock now with the sell-side firms that will partake in the deal. Last time (Nov 26th, 2012) - the stock rose $22, or 10%, in the two weeks prior to the deal (and this also followed a big drop prior post earnings).

    Maybe something will be announced this week or next. The whole thing is rigged and has very little to do with valuations.
    Aug 19, 2014. 06:58 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Amazon: Profit Is Not In The Dictionary [View article]
    Gross profit is irrelevant for Amazon as they account for 3P and AWS sales at 100% gross margin. They place those operating costs in "fulfillment" and "T&C" respectively. As Bill points out net margin is decreasing as gross margin increases. Net margin and cash flow are all that matters in a business, and both are dropping fast.
    Aug 19, 2014. 08:10 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Amazon: Profit Is Not In The Dictionary [View article]
    Bill - have you given up valuing AMZN based on P/S yet? You usually add a price target based on P/S at the end of your AMZN articles. if you had, your target would have risen post the Q. I am happy to see you didn't do that.

    I have criticized that approach in the past for AMZN, because it assumes an inflated future net margin in the multiple that AMZN has proven time after time it cannot achieve as Amazon's business model had inverse leverage (everyone assume they can flip a magic "profit switch" and still grow - which they cannot).

    WMT is valued at 0.5 P/S and they have 3.6% net margin, which AMZN will never achieve. At 0.5 P/S AMZN is worth $89.
    Aug 18, 2014. 10:53 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The 'Come To Jesus' Earnings Report [View article]
    Paul - current ratio is back to 1.0, 1st time since the $3B issue. It didn't take long for them to eat through that $3B. They will need to go back out for debt soon (or do a follow-on offering .. at these prices that sounds better).
    Jul 25, 2014. 10:13 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Netflix: $35 Billion In Revenue Is Attainable By 2024 [View article]
    10 year forecast? you must be kidding. Analysts can't predict next Q for a company like this, and you want to go out ten years to draw some conclusions? Anything is possible - you could also make the case NFLX will be out of business in less than 10 years.

    This company's stock price is pure speculation as a trading stock - nothing more until the young streaming market shakes itself out.
    Jun 19, 2014. 11:52 AM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Amazon: When Does The Trouble Begin? [View article]

    AMZN has begun its transition where it has to worry about cash flow and profits, rather than revenue growth, because as you point out, the balance sheet is in dire shape. We all knew this would come some day, as the low hanging revenue fruit has been picked and they need to increase the quality of their revenue, not necessarily the amount. There is no economy of scale with their prior growth plan (jumping into every growth business possible at the lowest price point).

    Most of their recent changes highlight this - increase in prime price, slowing of content deals, slowing of AWS price decreases, lack of new business announcements, increase in 3P seller fees, etc... With that, it is no longer appropriate to value AMZN on a price to revenue basis, valuation will begin to track their ability to deliver free cash flow and earnings. The market has proven this, as the stock has moved wildly on the notion of prime pricing changes.

    I think if you buy AMZN based on a P/S ratio disconnected from cash flow/EPS, you will get burned over the next year as the transition occurs. If they are valued on profitability, their P/S should be 0.5-0.7.
    Mar 18, 2014. 08:04 AM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Netflix Is A House Of Cards On The Verge Of Collapse [View article]
    Boris - and that is why NFLX will have a hard time raising prices ever .. b/c to get 60-70% of households like they need to make current valuation, they need to be cheap enough that a sub is not tempted to steal free streaming.

    That is why they will never have success outside of the US and EU - no one outside of there will pay anything for something they can get for free.
    Feb 26, 2014. 07:43 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment