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Posts Tagged ‘ABTL’

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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