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For-Profit EDU: Another Log on the Fire? The Pell Grant Party Might Be Over

June 20th, 2012

There is little doubt that the for-profit postsecondary education sector has been under siege for the past 2-3 years.  Most stocks in the space are trading at or near their 52-week lows and at valuations most investors and management teams in...

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OPEN: This is Not a “Blocking and Tackling” Exercise

June 12th, 2012

If you were to listen solely to OPEN management, the company’s path to market dominance in the online restaurant reservation space is merely an exercise in “blocking and tackling”.  Management continues to execute on the same strategy the company had in...

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THQI: The Power of One

May 16th, 2012

In April 2009, in our very first report on THQI we wrote the following:“Over the past 15-months, THQI’s stock has declined in excess of 80% in large part due to poor execution by the company in its efforts to target “core gamers” and decreased receptivity among young consumers for...

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APOL: Closing Out Our Short Idea with a 32% Gain (vs. S&P 500 +11.3%), Core Thesis Remains Intact

May 8th, 2012

On 12/15/11 we introduced APOL as a short idea (see “The Monster is Out of the Cage and APOL’s Secular Decline Begins in Earnest”).  Our thesis at that time was predicated on the following: Demographic trends were...

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WWE: On the Cusp of Meaningful Content Monetization

May 4th, 2012

It shouldn’t come as a complete surprise that WWE shares traded off over the past three months following 4Q11 results that were in no uncertain terms hugely disappointing and initial guidance for 2012 that was well below consensus forecasts.  However, we were quite...

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Z: Zillow Provides a Glimpse of the Future, While Investing In It

May 3rd, 2012

Some investors might be perplexed by the strength in Zillow shares after hours.  Yes, the company did report strong 1Q12 results that handily beat estimates.  Yes, the operating metrics delivered in 1Q12 were fantastic and well above what most...

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OPEN: As Growth Metrics Collapse Investors Are Left to Wonder: Where is the Vision?

May 2nd, 2012

Was it really just only 12-months ago that OPEN was the darling of Wall Street?  It seems like another lifetime.  Approximately one year ago to the day, OPEN reported another quarter of 40%+ YOY organic revenue growth and handily...

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700+ Real Estate Agents Can’t Be Wrong. The Housing Market Is On the Cusp of a Sustained Recovery. Getting Long Zillow

May 1st, 2012

This is a report about housing. This is also a report about a company that has the potential to transform the home purchase process in the US.  Every Spring for each of the past three years we have...

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ESI: Running Out of Bullets? The EPS Beat Means Little in the Context of Weakening Student Metrics and Evaporating FCF

April 26th, 2012

It’s True They Did Beat, But….ESI reported 1Q12 revenue and EPS results that were significantly better than consensus estimates.  Despite the overall outperformance, there are CLEAR signs now that...

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For-Profit EDU: As Some Try to Celebrate “Less Worse” Metrics, Starts Deteriorate and a Fundamental Inflection...

April 24th, 2012

Today the 1Q12 earnings season in the for-profit postsecondary education sector kicks off in earnest.  Thus far, many of the 12 issues that we thought would matter most this year have weighed...

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THQI: Perception vs. Reality

April 18th, 2012

For the first time in a long time, THQI shareholders received some good news today.  The stock has been in a steep decline over the past 4-5 months since the uDraw disaster.  We recognize that people remain highly skeptical of management’s ability to execute on its plan to transform the...

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ESI: Why Did ESI Get a New Credit Facility? Revisiting Our Daisy Chain of Events

March 28th, 2012

If we have learned anything over the past 12 years in which we have been following ESI as analysts and investors it is this: never underestimate the guile of the company’s management team, particularly when it comes to crafting...

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APOL: Struggling to Find Its Way in the Era of Brand and Price, Staying Short

March 27th, 2012

The statistics in many respects are simply overwhelming.  Consider the following: More than 700,000 students have now graduated from the University of Phoenix Stated another way, 1 in roughly 450 Americans has a degree from the...

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MLHR: Recovery in Demand for Office Furniture Remains Anemic but Trends Have Improved Modestly, Closing Out MLHR Short...

March 20th, 2012

In the 8-months since we originally introduced MLHR as a short idea, the stock has declined (-17.4%) compared to a 7.7% gain in the S&P 500 over the same time frame.  For those that also rely on...

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WPO: 10-K High (and Low) Lights; 2012 Could Be As Good As It Gets for Quite Some Time, Revised Estimates

March 2nd, 2012

Admittedly, WPO’s 4Q11 results beat our estimates by a wide margin.  Normally this type of EPS upside would yield a more meaningful reaction in any given company’s stock price – that did not happen.  WPO...

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APOL: Management Has No Visibility, Lowering Estimates

February 29th, 2012

Approximately 3-months ago we published a report entitled: “The Monster Is Out of the Cage and APOL’s Secular Decline Begins in Earnest” in which we outlined our short thesis for APOL.  Below we quickly review the principal tenets of the secular short case...

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WWE: 2012 Becomes a Year of Significant Investment as We Await Details on Content Distribution and the WWE Network

February 23rd, 2012

Presumably, WWE investors will awake tomorrow morning after fully digesting 4Q11 results that can best be described as substandard to a round of negative estimate revisions for 2012 EPS in the 30-45%...

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ARC: Generating Copious Free Cash Flow While Waiting for a Market Upturn, Enhanced B/S Flexibility Enables Increased...

February 22nd, 2012

We cannot think of a better testament to the skill and guile of ARC’s current management team than the chart below.  In it we compare ARC’s aggregate free cash flow generation over the past five...

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XOXO: 4Q11 Results Demonstrate Why This Remains One of Our Favorite Names in the Internet Space, Taking Price Objective...

February 17th, 2012

Humor us for a moment and allow us to walk you through a sequence of events that occurred for a company for the past 12-months.  For the moment we will not reveal the name of the company (but at...

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OPEN: When Did This Become a Cost-Cutting Story? Peak EPS Could Be Closer Than You Think

February 8th, 2012

At the highest level here are the headlines about OPEN’s 4Q11 earnings results and subsequent earnings conference call: 1) the company delivered a low quality beat, 2) underlying operating metrics for the most part were...

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OPEN: Stock Rips As the Company Loses Share in Euro., Faces Increased Competition in the US, 4Q11 Should Show More Sign...

February 7th, 2012

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: a heavily shorted stock, which was one of the worst performing names in its sector in 2011 has now rallied more than 20% to start the year.  Of course in...

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BCO: The North American Grind Continues, Value Without Catalysts, Just a Compelling Emerging Markets Growth Story

February 3rd, 2012

Admittedly when we founded PAA Research, investment recommendations like what BCO has become for us, were exactly what we’re trying to avoid.  Our absolute return focus and strict adherence to loss...

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THQI: Cost Cuts Likely Take Liquidity “Crunch” Off the Table and Are Bigger Than You Think, Option Value Remains...

February 3rd, 2012

THQI reported 3Q12 non-GAAP EPS that was actually higher than our forecast ($0.35 vs. $0.31).  Unfortunately consensus expectations were considerably higher, so we consider this somewhat of a...

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COCO: What is COCO Doing Wrong?

February 1st, 2012

It seems like an outlandish question to ask on a day when COCO shares have gapped up a draw-dropping 30% in response to a modest earnings beat that was almost entirely driven by lower bad-debt expense and a 2Q12 enrollment intake that was inline with expectations.  However, we think...

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BGG/TTC: BGG, This Needed to Happen, Now the Stock Becomes Even More Compelling

January 27th, 2012

Admittedly, we did not expect something like this.  Suffice it to say BGG’s 2Q12 earnings results and conference call included a number of unexpected outcomes both operationally and strategically.  Obviously the big news of the day was...

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ESI: 4Q11 EPS Beat Belies Significant Operational Red Flags

January 26th, 2012

It’s True They Did Beat, But….ESI reported 4Q11 revenue and EPS results that were significantly better than consensus estimates.  Despite the overall outperformance, many of the critical underlying metrics the company reported were weak and/or should...

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For-Profit EDU: Will Winter Term/4Q11 Results Represent an Inflection Point for the Industry? Checks with Private...

January 25th, 2012

Yesterday we published a lengthy report that outlined the 12 issues that we think will have the greatest impact on the enrollment, revenue, EPS and stock sentiment of the publicly traded for-profit...

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BGG/TTC: BGG 2Q12 Preview, Highlights from Proprietary Outdoor Power Equipment Dealer Survey, Still Favor Long...

January 25th, 2012

If there has been any sector that has served as the backbone of the recent rally in the market it has been the homebuilders.  Most of the largest publicly traded homebuilders have witnessed stock...

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For-Profit EDU: As the Focus Turns To “Brand and Price”, The 12 Issues That Will Matter Most in For-Profit...

January 24th, 2012

Perhaps it happens every year, but the relative outperformance of last year’s losers compared to the prior year’s winners has been particularly pronounced thus far in 2012.  The 25 worst...

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APOL: A Question of Amplitude and the Eight Other Issues that Matter Most, Staying Short

January 6th, 2012

APOL reported 1Q12 enrollment and earnings results that on the surface, at least looked like exactly what bulls on the stock were hoping for.  To quickly review: The company posted slight revenue upside and beat on EPS by a...

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AYI

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RON.TO

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BIG

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ESI

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DV

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BGG

PAIR - LONG BGG/SHORT TTC

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TTC

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Z

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NA.TO

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HCG.TO

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ING.PA

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ZU

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MCRS

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XOXO

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CSGP

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IPSU

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MLHR

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THQI

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WPO

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HNI

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