Today I sold my stake in Chinese search giant Baidu. The reason behind it is straight and easy: Valuation exceeded my Price Target of around USD 255 per share. In my opinion a margin of safety is not given at this price. Further share price appreciation hence will be based on shaky growth assumptions, that I am not willing to pay up for. (especially in a market where European Junk-bonds yield lower than 10-year treasuries, a levered tec-fund can raise capital at 7% and the only justification to hold on to stocks is the fear of missing out on yet another rallye)
The Investment in Baidu yielded a 43% CAGR with only very little risk of permanent impairment of capital.
Another year has gone by and I can announce that for the first time in this blog´s short two-year history I have squarely beaten the S&P500 by 4.9%. The value of funds invested is up 18% from the beginning of the year and the S&P500 closed 13.1% higher (in EUR). I am especially happy about the results since they were achieved by employing a very rational approach that I am confident to be able to replicate in the years ahead.
For each company that I bought shares in I could determine with high certainty its intrinsic value and document most of the analysis here on this blog. As a consequence I achieved healthy returns with Clydesdale Bank, Baidu, IBM, RCI Hospitality and Davita. Many of these fine companies are still far away from my target prices and will hopefully serve as foundation for next year´s outperformance. Continue reading
I have been interested in Baidu for quite a while and today decided to open a position in the company by buying 6 shares at a price of USD 163. I will increase the position when prices turn more favorable.
On SeekingAlpha I have outlined why shares are a buy at current levels in detail. You´ll find the pitch including my valuation model here:
For all the folks in a rush, here´s a fast track introduction as to why Baidu may be suitable for a value investor´s portfolio despite being an internet company and Chinese:
- Sum of the parts valuation results in value of USD 255 per ADR
- or 60% upside until end of FY2017
- Baidu search is significantly undervalued trading at 11x FY2017 after tax profits while growing at a > 20% clip
- Comparable businesses command multiples in excess of 20x profits
- High search margins are buried under large investments into O2O and iQyi
- Sale of online-to-offline businesses and Chinese Netflix pendant iQyi will reveal true earnings potential or provide upside optionality if turning profitable.
Here´s a brief update on what Chinese think of the company and its services. Headline here is that Baidu is unloved but there is no alternative for it, which will ensure growing profits for years to come.
I am currently long Baidu (BIDU)