Franchise Canadian Tire

Stock Research and Acquiring the Whole Company

Years ago, as COO of a company in the quick service restaurant industry, I was charged with the responsibility of making that company grow-quickly but within reason. The fastest way to do that was by sensible acquisition; so I set out to buy as many other similar franchised outlets as possible.

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Approaching these acquisitions I learned a few things about buying other companies. The first key was how to value a prospective acquisition. This involved a variety of observations, discussions with others, obtaining objective advice, research, and negotiating with the seller. A critical aspect of the analysis entailed conducting comparisons between the subject acquisition and others available in the general area. This meant conducting endless, time-consuming comparisons, analyses and research of competition, other options, financial projections and so on.

I was thinking about this time-consuming data quagmire the other day, in relation to the task of managing one’s own financial portfolio. If you’re going to buy stock in one mining or oil company versus another, isn’t this almost the same as me making those acquisitions in the past…as if you were buying the company? How do you make those decisions? Do you rely on the advice of others, or do you figure out what to do by yourself?

If you rely strictly on the advice of others, isn’t that the same as me not visiting those restaurant outlets, or having them ‘mystery shopped’, or going there anonymously to kick the tires? How do you really know for sure if you’re getting accurate, truly objective advice? It stands to reason that if you are being given certain specific advice, aren’t others being given the same? If this is so, won’t that help force the stock’s price up via demand? Does that cause you to lose your competitive edge? But if you’re doing your own research and you have some ‘secret weapons’ or tools to help you, won’t that allow you to find the best opportunities that others don’t have or know about?

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One such investor, Ian Campbell liked to manage his own stock portfolio. But he found it painfully time-consuming to do the analyses, pouring over piles of charts, other web sites, trying to make sense of all the inputs for so many different companies. Moreover, in many cases, the information he wanted and needed was not there.

He reasoned that there must be thousands of investment advisers and other investors who like him craved a solution to this. During the last year, he has developed a website focused on Small Cap Canadian Mining and Oil & Gas stocks.

Among the many things you can do with his website, is the comparison of the companies embedded there. For instance, users can compare companies in more than 40 different ways: everything from ‘Trailing 90 Day Volatility’ on a daily basis; to ‘Interest Bearing Debt/TTM After-tax Cash Flow’; on a trailing12 month’s basis. Each comparison table is generated automatically when selected by a site subscriber; companies are ranked in the comparison table in either ascending or descending order depending on the comparator the subscriber selected.

Using the drop-down menu in the website’s Main Navigation bar, company comparisons can be immediately generated at any ‘segregation’ level a user selects. For example, selecting Company Research -> Mining -> Gold -> Producer -> Mexico from the drop-down menus will result in all companies who produce gold as their main output, and who operate principally in Mexico, being compared by whichever characteristics the member-subscriber then selects. The significance of each comparator is stated, along with how it has been calculated.

This is amazing stuff. I sure wish I had a web site like this when I was figuring out which companies to buy back in the day. If you want to feel comfortable and secure that you have the very best information available to make your own buy or sell decisions, this should probably be a part of your own stock research tool kit.

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