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Archive for the ‘Autobytel (NASDAQ:ABTL)’ Category

Autobytel Inc (NASDAQ:ABTL) has amended its stockholder rights plan in response to Trilogy, Inc. increasing its stake to 7.4%. ABTL’s most recent filing attaches the following press release:

Autobytel Inc. (NASDAQ: ABTL) today announced that it has amended its stockholder rights plan to permit CCM Master Qualified Fund, Ltd., Coghill Capital Management, L.L.C. and Clint Coghill to acquire collective beneficial ownership of more than 15% of Autobytel’s common stock without triggering Autobytel’s stockholder rights plan. In connection with the amendment to the stockholder rights plan, Autobytel also entered into a standstill agreement with CCM, Coghill Capital and Mr. Coghill that contains certain standstill provisions and prohibits CCM, Coghill Capital and Mr. Coghill from taking certain specified actions, including, among other things, a prohibition on any actions that would attempt to direct or influence the management, Board of Directors or policies of Autobytel. The standstill restrictions apply for as long as CCM, Coghill Capital and Mr. Coghill collectively beneficially own in excess of 9.7% of Autobytel’s common stock.

Jeffrey Coats, Chief Executive Officer of Autobytel, stated: “Coghill Capital has been a valued long-term investor in Autobytel, and Autobytel appreciates Coghill Capital’s continued support of the Company. Autobytel looks forward to working with all of our stockholders to maximize stockholder value.”

ABTL is up 14% to $0.49 since we started following it in December last year. We see its liquidation value around 60% higher at $35.3M or $0.78 per share.

[Full Disclosure: We do not have a holding in ABTL. This is neither a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. All information provided believed to be reliable and presented for information purposes only.]

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Welcome back to Greenbackd and happy new year for 2009. We hope that you had a good break. There have been a number of positive developments in the companies we discussed last year. Set out below is an update on those positions we had open in the Greenbackd Portfolio at the close of 2008:

  • Trilogy has increased its stake in ABTL to 7.4%. ABTL is up 18.6% since our first post but we are maintaining our position because we think it’s still worth 50% more.
  • BVF has endorsed the MNOV offer for AVGN. AVGN is up 20% since our first post but we are holding on because we think the merger presents an opportunity for AVGN’s stockholders to receive around $1.20 per share in cash (almost 60% higher than AVGN’s $0.78 close Friday) and the possibility of “an extraordinary, uncapped return” if MNOV is successful post-merger.
  • BRN has filed its September 10Q and we believe that its liquidation value has increased from $6.52 per share to $6.91 per share. The stock is up 41% since our initial post. We still see the liquidation value some 40% higher than BRN’s Friday close of $4.95, so we will maintain our position.
  • CRC is down 6.3% from our initial post. Other than the retirement of the CFO, we have no other news to report. With CRC in a liquidity crisis, the retirement of the CFO is a worrying development. That said, we see CRC’s liquidation value at around $2.45 per share, which is more than 450% higher than its Friday close of $0.43, so we propose to maintain our position.
  • A group of “high-powered executives” plan to save INFS from “New York sharks.” The stock is up 15.9% to $0.73 since our initial post. Its liquidating value is still some 58% higher at $1.15 per share and so we are maintaining the position.
  • We’ve closed our position in KONA for an 88% gain in 18 days.
  • A new activist investor has filed a 13D for MATH and is lobbying the company to liquidate. MATH is up 17.7% since our first post but it’s still trading at half its liquidating value and a little more than half its net cash backing, so we’re maintaining our position.
  • ZLC is off 16.8% from our initial post. We’ve estimated its liquidation value at $7.63 per share, which is still 90% higher than its $4.01 close Friday, so we are maintaining our position in ZLC.

Although it is still too early to determine how Greenbackd’s strategy of investing in undervalued asset situations with a catalyst is performing, we’ve set out below a list of all the stocks we’ve included in the Greenbackd Portfolio and the absolute and relative performance of each. This is the standardized format we propose to adopt to track Greenbackd’s performance at 6-monthly intervals:

Current holdings (As at January 5, 2009)

greenbackd-portfolio-current-holdings-performance

Former holdings (As at date of our closure of the position)greenbackd-portfolio-former-holdings-performance

The absolute total return across the current and former positions as at January 5, 2009 is 14.2%, which is 8.4% higher than the S&P500’s return over the same periods. As we discussed above, the holding periods for Greenbackd’s positions has been too short to provide any meaningful information about the likely performance of the strategy over the long term (2 to 5 years), but we believe that the strategy should outperform the market by a small margin.

We look forward to bringing you the best undervalued asset situations we can dig up in 2009.

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Trilogy, Inc. has increased its stake in Autobytel Inc (NASDAQ:ABTL). On November 21, 2008, Trilogy, Inc. filed its Schedule 13D notice, declaring an interest of 5.01%. Trilogy, Inc has now filed an updated 13D notice, disclosing an increased 7.4% stake.

We started following ABTL last year because it was a net net stock with a market capitalization of $19.4M at its December 10, 2008 close of $0.43. We estimated the company’s liquidation value some 80% higher at $35.3M or $0.78 per share. Although the stock has risen some 18.6% to close Friday at $0.51, ABTL is still worth 50% more than its stock price indicates so we plan to maintain our position.

[Disclosure: We do not have a holding in ABTL. This is neither a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. All information provided believed to be reliable and presented for information purposes only.]

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Autobytel Inc (NASDAQ:ABTL) is a net net stock with an investor declaring an active interest in late November. At yesterday’s close of $0.43, ABTL has a market capitalization of $19.4M and is trading at 55% of our estimate of its liquidation value of $35.3M. On November 21, 2008, Trilogy, Inc. filed its Schedule 13D notice, declaring an interest of 5.01%.

About ABTL

ABTL is a automotive media and marketing services company focused on helping dealers sell cars and services, and manufacturers build brands through marketing and advertising primarily through the Internet. The company owns and operates automotive websites MyRide.com, Autobytel.com, Autoweb.com, Car.com, CarSmart.com, AutoSite.com and CarTV.com. It connects automotive marketers with vehicle shoppers visiting these websites and third-party websites (primarily search engines, automotive information providers and other auto related venues). You can see the corporate website here.

The value proposition

ABTL’s most recent 10Q, specifically its earnings and cash flow, was abominable. The company lost $5.36M last year but surpassed that in the September quarter alone, losing$5.63M. ABTL had negative cash from operating activities last year of $6.91M and $2.88M in the quarter to September. As always we can find some value on the balance sheet, as our summary analysis demonstrates (the “Carrying” column shows the assets as they are carried in the financial statements, and the “Liquidating” column shows our estimate of the value of the assets in a liquidation):

abtl-summary1

With $32.2M or $0.71 per share in cash and equivalents on the balance sheet and total liabilities of $12.7M or $0.28 per share, ABTL is trading at its net cash value of $0.43. If we add in receivables of $12.7M (which we’ve written down by 20% to $10.2M or $0.22 per share), property, plant and equipment of $9.2M (written down to $4.6M or $0.10 per share) and a nominal $0.9M or $0.02 per share for the prepaid expenses, ABTL has a a liquidating value of $35.3M or $0.78 per share. ABTL’s liquidating value of $0.78 is 82% higher than its stock price of $0.43, which is a substantial margin for error (or safety).

The catalyst

Trilogy, Inc. filed its Schedule 13D notice, declaring an interest of 5.01% on November 21, 2008. The filing contains the standard boilerplate that says a great deal without actually disclosing Trilogy’s true purpose for the purchase.  Trilogy is a private operating company in the technology consulting industry, not a fund manager, so there is little public information available about its strategy. It seems odd for a technology consulting business to buy a substantial active stake in a listed company. It’s possible that the filing is a precursor to a bid for ABTL. An affiliate of Trilogy, Trilogy Automotive Advertising Services, operates a business focussed on the automotive industry. ABTL might fit nicely into that business. We’re only speculating, but on the basis that it might turn into a bid, ABTL is worth watching.

Conclusion

At its close yesterday of $0.43 ABTL is trading at its net cash and at a 45% discount to its value in liquidation. In short, it’s a bargain. With Trilogy disclosing an active interest that could be a precursor to a takeover bid, ABTL is worth a look.

ABTL closed yesterday at $0.43.

The S&P 500 Index closed at 899.24.

[Disclosure: We do not have a holding in ABTL. This is neither a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. All information provided believed to be reliable and presented for information purposes only.]

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The Official Activist Investing Blog has published its list of activist investments for November:

Ticker Company Activist Investor
ABTL Autobytel Inc Trilogy Inc
ACF AmeriCredit Corp Fairholme Capital Management
ACTL Actel Corp Ramius Capital
ADPT Adaptec, Inc Steel Partners
ARCW Arc Wireless Solutions Brean Murray Carret Group
ATSG Air Transport Services Group Perella Weinberg Partners
AVGN Avigen Inc Biotechnology Value Fund
BBI Blockbuster Inc Marlin Sams Fund
BEE Strategic Hotels & Resorts Security Capital Research & Management
BITI Bio-Imaging Technologies Healthinvest Partners
CHG CH Energy Group Inc Gamco Investors
CHIC Charlotte Russe Holding Inc KarpReilly Capital Management
CPN Calpine Corp Harbinger Capital
CRXX CombinatoRX, Incorporated Biotechnology Value Fund
CTO Consolidated Tomoka Land Co Wintergreen Advisers
CWLZ Cowlitz Bancorporation Crescent Capital
DBD Diebold Inc Gamco Investors
DCAP DCAP Group Infinity Capital Partners
DVD Dover Motorsports Mario Cibelli
ENTU Entrust Inc. Empire Capital Partners
FACE Physicians Formula Holdings, Inc Mill Road Capital
FSCI Fisher Communications Gamco Investors
FTAR.OB Footstar Inc Schultze Asset Management
GBE Grubb & Ellis Company Anthony Thompson
GGP General Growth Properties Pershing Square Capital
GSLA GS Financial Corp FJ Capital Long/Short Equity Fund
HCBK Hudson City Bancorp Gamco Investors
HFFC HF Financial Corp PL Capital
INFS Infocus Corp Nery Capital Partners
INFS Infocus Corp Lloyd Miller
ISH International Shipholding Corp Liberty Shipping Group
KANA.OB Kana Software KVO Capital Management
KEYN Keynote Systems Ramius Capital
KFS Kingsway Financial Services Joseph Stilwell
KONA Kona Grill Mill Road Capital
LCAV LCA-Vision Inc Stephen Joffe
LDIS Leadis Technology Inc Kettle Hill Capital Management
LNET LodgeNet Interactive Corporation Mark Cuban
LTM Life Time Fitness Green Equity Investors
MCGC MCG Capital Corporation Springbok Capital Management
MGAM Multimedia Games Inc. Dolphin Limited Partnership
MGI Moneygram Interntaional Inc Blum Capital
MIM MI Developments Greenlight Capital
MYE Myers Industries Inc Gamco Investors
NAV Navistar International Owl Creek
NLS Nautilus Inc Sherborne Investors
NOOF New Frontier Media Steel Partners
NYT New York Times Harbinger Capital
OEH Orient-Express Hotels SAC Capital; DE Shaw
ORNG Orange 21 Costa Brava
PBIP Prudential Bancorp Inc. of PA Joseph Stilwell
PGRI.OB Platinum Energy Resources Inc Syd Ghermezian
PHH PHH Corp. Pennant Capital Management
PNNW Pennichuck Corp Gamco Investors
PPCO Penwest Pharmaceuticals Co Perceptive Advisors
PRXI Premier Exhibitions, Inc Sellers Capital
PWER Power One Bel Fuse
PXG Phoenix Footwear Group Reidman Corp
RDEN Elizabeth Arden Shamrock Activist Value Fund
SCOP Scopus Video Networks Ltd. Optibase Ltd
SECX.PK SED International Holdings Hummingbird Management
SLTC Selectica Inc Trilogy Inc (Versata Enterprises)
SNG Canadian Superior Energy Palo Alto Investors
SNSTA Sonesta International Hotels Gamco
SUAI Specialty Underwriters Alliance Philip Stephenson
SUMT SumTotal Systems Discovery Capital
SUTM.OB Sun-Times Media Group Inc. K Capital
SUTM.OB Sun-Times Media Group Inc. Davidson Kempner Partners
SWWI Simon Worldwide Inc Everst Special Situations Fund
TIKRF.OB Tikcro Technologies Ltd Steven Bronson
TXCC TranSwitch Corp Brener International Group
TXI Texas Industries Shamrock Activist Value Fund
UIS Unisys Corp MMI Investments
UTEK Ultratech Inc Temujin Fund
WBSN Websense Inc Shamrock Activist Value Fund
WEDC White Electronic Designs Wynnefield Capital
WINS SM&A Mill Road Capital
YHOO Yahoo Carl Icahn
ZLC Zale Corp. Breeden Capital Management

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