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Latest Valuentum Commentary
Oct 20, 2020
ConocoPhillips Is Buying Concho Resources
Image Shown: An overview of the pro forma asset base of ConocoPhillips and Concho Resources Inc. Please note that Concho Resources’ main operations are in the Permian Basin in West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico, a region that ConocoPhillips seeks to grow its exposure to. ConocoPhillips has an expansive upstream portfolio with operations worldwide, though its North American position is set to become a much larger part of its company-wide profile. Image Source: ConocoPhillips – ConocoPhillips & Concho Resources Transaction Announcement IR Presentation. On October 19, ConocoPhillips announced it was acquiring Concho Resources through an all-stock deal. If the deal goes through as planned, each share of CXO will be exchanged for 1.46 shares of COP, and as the press release notes, this represents “a 15 percent premium to closing share prices on October 13.” However, please keep in mind shares of CXO have fallen by roughly two thirds since October 2018 as of this writing, indicating ConocoPhillips is really not paying much of a premium for Concho Resources.
Oct 15, 2020
Our Thoughts on the Potential Acquisition of Concho Resources by ConocoPhillips
Image Source: ConocoPhillips – November 2019 Annual & Investor Meeting Presentation. According to Bloomberg, the super-independent ConocoPhillips is currently talking with Concho Resources about acquiring the company. We do not expect that such a deal will come with a significant premium, and furthermore, and we expect that such a deal will likely be funded with equity. Our reasoning is underpinned by recent M&A activity in the oil patch, such as the all-stock acquisition of Noble Energy by Chevron Corporation through a ~$5 billion deal that was completed in early-October. That deal involved Chevron paying a ~12% premium (based on ten-day average closing stock prices) at the time of the announcement, though please note shares of Noble Energy had cratered beforehand indicating that Chevron did not have to pay up for the company. Noble Energy, like Concho Resources, also had a significant position in the Permian Basin (though its Mediterranean assets were Chevron’s main target, in our view). We covered that deal in great detail. As it concerns our view that ConocoPhillips would likely use equity instead of cash to acquire Concho Resources (should such a deal materialize), that is largely due to ConocoPhillips’ sizable net debt load at the end of June 2020 and its inability to generate meaningful free cash flows in the current pricing environment for raw energy resources. Additionally, Concho Resources had a net debt load at the end of June 2020 and is also unable to generate meaningful free cash flows in the current environment. The oil patch is contending with serious financial constraints and all-stock acquisitions/mergers with minimal premiums are likely going to continue being the norm for some time.
Oct 2, 2020
Our Thoughts on the Oil & Gas Industry
Image Shown: Crude oil prices, measured by the WTI benchmark, plummeted during the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic and have yet to fully recover. Declines in global crude oil prices have depressed prices for natural gas, natural gas liquids, and liquified natural gas as well. We expect that it will take some time for the oil and gas industry to truly recover, and hefty net debt loads combined with onerous dividend obligations are making that a very tough task. Juicy dividend yields are a sign of the headwinds facing the oil and gas industry and are not a sign of strong underlying strength in those firms that are paying out generous dividends. Most of the juicy dividend yields within the energy space are a sign of the stress facing those companies and the industry at-large, and we caution that the chance other oil majors follow Shell and BP in cutting their payout remains very likely. For instance, Exxon Mobil’s payout is simply not well-covered in the current raw energy resources pricing environment and the firm is taking on a lot of debt to cover those obligations. Chevron Corporation’s payout is also on shaky ground as it generated negative free cash flows during the first half of 2020 while carrying a large net debt load at the end of June, though like Exxon Mobil, Chevron’s management team has stuck with its current dividend policy so far. Like Shell, Chevron also grew its natural gas and LNG business meaningfully over the past few years, but that strategy did not pan out as intended.
Oct 2, 2020
ICYMI: How Big Is Your "Too Hard" Bucket?
Image Source: Christian Schnettelker. In investing, it's okay to admit that there are some things that investors can't know. It's not a poor reflection of one's analytical ability or a possible shortcoming of one's experience, but rather quite the contrary: Understanding and accepting that some things are "unknowable" is a sign of the quality of one's judgment. Quite simply, certain critical components of the equity evaluation process are more "unknowable" than others. The intelligent investor recognizes the variance (fair value estimate ranges) and the magnitude of the "unknowable" between companies and generally tries to identify entities that have the least "unknowable" characteristics as possible or situations where the "unknowable" might actually be weighted in their favor (an asymmetric fair value distribution).
Sep 8, 2020
Dividend Growth Selection in a Low Yield Environment
Image Source: EpicTop10.com. Management's willingness to pay is critical, so an understanding of how dividend growth has been the past few years is very important, but when we look for fantastic dividend growth ideas for the future, we also want to make sure that the management team has the capacity to keep raising the dividend--meaning there's so much more to dividend growth assessments than backward-looking analysis. For starters, we want our long-term dividend growth ideas to have strong competitively-advantaged business models, solid secular growth trends or recession-resistant characteristics, impressive balance sheets (sometimes and preferably with hefty net cash positions) and growing future expected free cash flows (strong Dividend Cushion ratios).
Sep 3, 2020
Schlumberger and Liberty Oilfield Services Make a Deal
Image Shown: Schlumberger NV is combining its OneStim business with Liberty Oilfield Services Inc. The picture above is an overview of the combined company on a pro forma basis. Image Source: Liberty Oilfield Services Inc – Schlumberger to Contribute OneStim to Liberty IR Presentation. On September 1, Schlumberger and Liberty Oilfield Services announced that Schlumberger would combine its onshore hydraulic fracturing business in the US and Canada, OneStim, with Liberty Oilfield Services. That includes Schlumberger’s pressure pumping and pumpdown perforating businesses in the relevant regions, and its frac sand business in the Permian Basin (West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico). In return, Schlumberger is getting a 37% equity stake in Liberty Oilfield Services (on a pro forma basis) which primarily offers pressure pumping and other oilfield services to upstream companies operating in onshore US markets. The day the news broke, shares of LBRT were up 36% during normal trading hours while shares of SLB were down 1%, as investors clearly saw Liberty Oilfield Services as the big winner from this industry consolidation.
Sep 1, 2020
Valuentum Website Overview
Overview of the key features of www.valuentum.com (03:55).
Aug 14, 2020
Our Thoughts on Chevron Buying Noble Energy
Image Shown: An overview of Chevron Corporation’s all-stock acquisition of Noble Energy Inc that was announced in July 2020. Image Source: Chevron Corporation – July 2020 Noble Energy Acquisition Presentation. On July 20, Chevron Corp announced it was acquiring Noble Energy through a $5.0 billion all-stock transaction, or $13.0 billion when factoring in net debt and the book value of non-controlling interests. Shareholders of Noble Energy will receive approximately 0.12 share of Chevron for each share of Noble Energy. At the time the deal was announced, shareholders of NBL were receiving a ~12% premium based on the ten-day average closing stock prices. Chevron intends to issue ~58 million shares to cover the deal, keeping in mind the firm had approximately 1.85 billion shares outstanding on a weighted-average diluted basis as of the second quarter of 2020. The deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter of this year and is forecasted to generate $0.3 billion in annualized run-rate cost synergies one year after closing.
Aug 3, 2020
Video: Exclusive 2020 -- Furthering the Financial Discipline
In this 40+ minute video jam-packed with must-watch content, Valuentum's President Brian Nelson talks about the Theory of Universal Valuation and how his work is furthering the financial discipline. Learn the pitfalls of factor investing and modern portfolio theory and how the efficient markets hypothesis holds little substance in the wake of COVID-19. He'll talk about what companies Valuentum likes and why, and which areas he's avoiding. This and more in Valuentum's 2020 Exclusive conference call. Note: The August edition of the Exclusive publication will be released Saturday, August 8.
Jul 22, 2020
Second Quarter Earnings Roundup
The figure above shows the performance of the simulated Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio from inception May 17, 2011, through December 15, 2017, relative to its declared benchmark, the S&P 500 (SPY), on an apples-to-apples basis, with dividends collected but not reinvested for both the newsletter portfolio and the SPY, as reported in the monthly newsletter. The simulated Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio outperformed the S&P 500, including reinvested dividends in the benchmark, since inception (May 17, 2011) and since the inaugural release of the newsletter (July 13, 2011) through the end of the measurement period (December 15, 2017). The results are hypothetical and do not represent returns that an investor actually earned. Past results are not indicative of future performance.
Latest Press Releases
The High Yield Dividend Newsletter, Best Ideas Newsletter, Dividend Growth Newsletter, Nelson Exclusive publication, and any reports, articles and content found on this website are for information purposes only and should not be considered a solicitation to buy or sell any security. The sources of the data used on this website are believed by Valuentum to be reliable, but the data’s accuracy, completeness or interpretation cannot be guaranteed. Valuentum is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of its newsletters, reports, commentary, or publications and accepts no liability for how readers may choose to utilize the content. Valuentum is not a money manager, is not a registered investment advisor and does not offer brokerage or investment banking services. Valuentum, its employees, and affiliates may have long, short or derivative positions in the stock or stocks mentioned on this site.