Like a puppy chasing its tail, some new investors often chase ‘the next big thing’, even if that means buying ‘story stocks’ without revenue, let alone profit. Unfortunately, high risk investments often have little probability of ever paying off, and many investors pay a price to learn their lesson.
If, on the other hand, you like companies that have revenue, and even earn profits, then you may well be interested in IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IAC). While profit is not necessarily a social good, it’s easy to admire a business that can consistently produce it. In comparison, loss making companies act like a sponge for capital – but unlike such a sponge they do not always produce something when squeezed.
IAC/InterActiveCorp’s Improving Profits
Over the last three years, IAC/InterActiveCorp has grown earnings per share (EPS) like young bamboo after rain; fast, and from a low base. So I don’t think the percent growth rate is particularly meaningful. Thus, it makes sense to focus on more recent growth rates, instead. It’s good to see that IAC/InterActiveCorp’s EPS have grown from US$5.63 to US$6.22 over twelve months. That’s a 10% gain; respectable growth in the broader scheme of things.
Careful consideration of revenue growth and earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) margins can help inform a view on the sustainability of the recent profit growth. On the one hand, IAC/InterActiveCorp’s EBIT margins fell over the last year, but on the other hand, revenue grew. So if EBIT margins can stabilize, this top-line growth should pay off for shareholders.
In the chart below, you can see how the company has grown earnings, and revenue, over time. For finer detail, click on the image.
The trick, as an investor, is to find companies that are going to perform well in the future, not just in the past. To that end, right now and today, you can check our visualization of consensus analyst forecasts for future IAC/InterActiveCorp EPS 100% free.
Are IAC/InterActiveCorp Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Since IAC/InterActiveCorp has a market capitalization of US$21b, we wouldn’t expect insiders to hold a large percentage of shares. But we do take comfort from the fact that they are investors in the company. Indeed, they have a glittering mountain of wealth invested in it, currently valued at US$1.6b. This suggests to me that leadership will be very mindful of shareholders’ interests when making decisions!
It’s good to see that insiders are invested in the company, but are remuneration levels reasonable? A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. I discovered that the median total compensation for the CEOs of companies like IAC/InterActiveCorp, with market caps over US$8.0b, is about US$11m.
IAC/InterActiveCorp offered total compensation worth US$6.3m to its CEO in the year to December 2018. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.
Should You Add IAC/InterActiveCorp To Your Watchlist?
As I already mentioned, IAC/InterActiveCorp is a growing business, which is what I like to see. The fact that EPS is growing is a genuine positive for IAC/InterActiveCorp, but the pretty picture gets better than that. Boasting both modest CEO pay and considerable insider ownership, I’d argue this one is worthy of the watchlist, at least. While we’ve looked at the quality of the earnings, we haven’t yet done any work to value the stock. So if you like to buy cheap, you may want to check if IAC/InterActiveCorp is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.
Of course, you can do well (sometimes) buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But as a growth investor I always like to check out companies that do have those features. You can access a free list of them here.
Please note the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction
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