J2 Global: Value Investors and Institutional Investors

The famed mutual fund manager Peter Lynch didn’t like to get shares that experienced a superior stage of institutional expense, even even though he was an institutional investor himself. The reason? Their costs would be also gradual-shifting to give him the types of substantial returns he chased (normally efficiently).

What, then, are we to believe of J2 World-wide Inc. (NASDAQ:JCOM), a tech business with ninety one% institutional possession, not to mention another 3.55% of insider possession.

Even with the heavy institutional possession, J2 shares have risen virtually five-fold more than the past 10 a long time:

GuruFocus J2 stock price chart

J2 is also a Buffett-Munger Screener stock, one particular of just 18 on the record, as of June 9. These are viewed as superior-top quality shares at reasonable benefit or undervalued costs.

The business commenced as an on the internet faxing services in 1995, but has because expanded its record of world wide web expert services and adjusted its identify to J2 World-wide. It has two most important strains of business, in accordance to its 10-K for 2019:

  • Cloud Companies, which offers “cloud-centered membership expert services to people and firms and license our intellectual assets (‘IP’) to 3rd functions. In addition, the Cloud Companies business incorporates fax, security, privacy, data backup, e-mail marketing and voice products and solutions.”
  • Electronic Media, which “specializes in the technological innovation, gaming, broadband, business to business, health care, and worldwide markets, presenting content, tools and expert services to people and firms.”

Income from Cloud Companies is rather secure, whilst revenue from Electronic Media is rising. All those dynamics have pushed down its functioning margins.

The business cites two brings about: Initial, Electronic Media is rising more rapidly than Cloud Companies, but its functioning margins are narrower, this means that consolidated functioning margins will proceed to shrink.

2nd, and as J2 noted in its 10-K, “the craze in advertising devote is shifting to mobile products and other more recent advertising formats which normally practical experience reduced margins than these from desktop computers and tablets. We be expecting this craze to proceed to place strain on our margins.”

Even with the shrinkage, margins remain respectable, for now at minimum:

  • Functioning margin: twenty.04%
  • Net margin: twelve.eighty one%


As we’ve pointed out, J2 is a Buffett-Munger Screener stock, and we can evaluate the stock applying the screener’s 4 requirements: a superior predictability score, a aggressive benefit, minor or no financial debt and an undervalued PEG ratio.


J2 has a five out of five rating, the leading for predictability, for regularly rising its revenue and its earnings. Right here is its heritage more than the past 10 a long time:

GuruFocus J2 revenue and earnings per share chart

Aggressive benefit

1 of its aggressive positive aspects, or moats, is its proprietary technological innovation and intellectual assets. In addition, it has created or obtained a large secure of model names, which includes these demonstrated in an investor presentation from past month:

J2 brands

Quantitatively, a median return of at minimum fifteen% for each yr more than the past 10 years, on return on money and return on tangible equity, is the aggressive benefit hurdle in the Macpherson design:

  • ROC: In the early part of the past 10 years, J2 experienced an excellent ROC file, as superior as 50%. But as the 10 years progressed, ROC declined to the superior one digits before rebounding a little bit. In 2019, the return on money was 11.21%.
  • ROTE: Like several of its competitors, which includes RingCentral (NYSE:RNG), it has no meaningful return on tangible equity data.

Credit card debt

The adhering to 10-yr chart shows how J2 piled on the debt—and grew its earnings for each share proportionately:

GuruFocus J2 long term debt and earnings per share

Despite the fact that the earnings for each share numbers have amplified, the business cannot be cozy with this stage of financial debt. Contemplate a couple of metrics in the fiscal energy desk:

GuruFocus J2 financial strength

Curiosity protection is less that 5, the stage Benjamin Graham set as his minimum amount for organizations with financial debt.

The Altman Z-Score is bordering on the Distress area and turning to the unfold amongst the return on invested money and the weighted ordinary price tag of money, the change is just 5%. Incorporate that with shrinking margins, and it is not an encouraging signal.


The PEG ratio, the most important valuation instrument for Buffett-Munger Screener shares, is superior, but not as superior as it has been in current a long time:

GuruFocus J2 PEG ratio

At 1.fifty six, the PEG ratio is superior a ratio of less than 1. is viewed as undervalued, whilst anything above 1. is viewed as overvalued.

On the lookout at other steps of valuation, the cost-earnings ratio is 22.fifty two, down from the small-to-mid 30s, and equivalent with its peers.

From the discounted funds circulation calculator, we get a reasonable or intrinsic benefit of $forty four.90, considerably reduced than the latest cost of $eighty one.08. That indicates the business has a unfavorable margin of basic safety.

Reviewing all 4 requirements, there is minor that is powerful in J2’s profile. Of course, it has presented predictable final results, but at the exact same time, it has a slender moat, a financial debt load and a PEG ratio that is rather superior. Its only assert to valuation energy is that the pandemic and financial crises have reduced its share cost below current highs. But there may possibly be an important piece of its technique we need to also consider.


J2 has obtained extra than one hundred organizations because adopting a technique of growth by acquisitions in 2000.

Having said that, it has a technique in just a technique. It pursues “programmatic acquisitions,” which need to present an outsized increase in returns. This slide from the investor presentation shows the degree of outperformance:

GuruFocus J2 aquisistions

Programmatic acquisitions? A McKinsey & Co. report explained: “Nearly a 10 years in the past, we set out to respond to a vital management issue: What kind of M&A technique creates the most benefit for large firms? We crunched the numbers, and the respond to was crystal clear: go after a lot of compact offers that accrue to a meaningful sum of sector capitalization more than various a long time as an alternative of relying on episodic, ‘big-bang’ transactions.”

Acquisitions could brighten the foreseeable future, but at the exact same time it’s important to acknowledge that new streams of revenue and earnings may possibly be required just to make up for shrinking margins.


J2 World-wide is a Buffett-Munger Screener business, but not a specifically robust one particular from a benefit investor’s viewpoint.

It has extra than what I would simply call “no or minor debt” and the share cost, even though reduced than it has been in the current past, offers no margin of basic safety. Still, for some traders, which includes these seeking for a stable business to get and hold for five a long time or extra, J2 has the potential to present satisfactory final results.

As for institutional traders, I suspect most of them would drop into the latter class. For them, gradual and constant beats the Lynch tactic of pursuing multi-bagger wins.

Disclosure: I do not possess shares in any organizations named in this report and do not be expecting to get any in the next 72 hrs.

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About the author:

Robert Abbott

Robert F. Abbott has been investing his family’s accounts because 1995 and in 2010 added selections — primarily included phone calls and collars with lengthy shares.

He is a freelance author, and his assignments incorporate a web site that offers information and facts for new and intermediate-stage mutual fund traders (whatisamutualfund.com).

As a author and publisher, Abbott also explores how the middle class has appear to possess massive business via pension cash and mutual cash, what management expert Peter Drucker called the “unseen revolution.”

Take a look at Robert Abbott’s Web site

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