The good news for sporting-goods manufacturer K2
When Richard Heckmann assumed the helm of the sporting-goods company, he went on an acquisition spree as he attempted to roll up the industry under K2's base-camp tent. Baseball equipment makers such as Rawlings and Worth were caught. Paintball-marker makers Brass Eagle and Worr Games were tagged. Shakespeare fishing rods were also hooked. It was a script Heckmann knew well, since he had bought up some 260 companies as CEO of US Filter, before US Filter was acquired itself.
Many of the acquisitions Heckmann has made with K2 have more been a cause for heartburn than for easy digestion. That might be something Quiksilver
The theory is fine: Buy companies that will smooth out the earnings across the entire year. Reality has not been so easy, though, and as a result the stock has stumbled from the high teens at the end of 2004 down to the single digits this time last year. The best that can be said for such price movements is that it gave investors a chance to scoop up some shares at discounted prices. Since its nadir, the stock has clawed its way back to $14, an approximately 50% increase. It's all a good lesson for investors to remember.
The other problem K2's investors have experienced is the dilution of their ownership interests. Particularly when K2's stock was riding high, the company was using its shares to finance acquisitions. Shares outstanding have gone up by more than 160% over the past five years, though last year they barely budged as Heckmann took a breather from the acquisition spree.
K2, however, announced it will be making two more acquisitions, one of which will be of Sevylor, a maker of inflatable watercraft. While awaiting approval from the French government, K2 expects to close on the transaction in the fourth quarter. That may hurt results a little, but it will be tremendous for the first half of 2007. In a change, K2 will finance the acquisition with cash.
While you can get the rundown on the raw results in this Fool by Numbers, a couple of other highlights of the quarter include renewed interest in paintball and the potential for the skateboard-sneaker line Adio to contribute more to the bottom line. ESPN2 will be covering paintball through Christmas, a move that could spur sales of new markers, while skater and Jackass alum Bam Margera will be returning to the scene following the release of Jackass 2 last month.
K2 has the potential to have knockout quarters every quarter because it does own leading brands in a variety of sports that rise to prominence at different times during the year. And while Heckmann believes 2006 is the base for future growth, the company can also be seen as a bit of a Frankenstein's monster, put together with disparate parts that make for herky-jerky motion instead of smooth fluidity. It does, however, lead to a knockout punch every once in a while.
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