In the competitive spirit of college basketball's annual championship tournament, The Motley Fool brings you Stock Madness 2007! Our writers are making head-to-head arguments for their chosen stocks (but not necessarily investment recommendations -- this is, after all, a game), and you'll pick the winners with your article recommendations and Motley Fool CAPS ratings. Who will win the right to cut down the net? Let's tip things off and find out!
No, Under Armour is here to stay. It also happens to fit all the criteria of a "Rule Breaker" company -- a company that shakes up a traditional industry and forces everyone else to adjust to it. Need some past examples of consummate Rule Breakers? Think Starbucks
So what are the Rule Breaker criteria, you ask? A true Rule Breaker must:
- Be top dog and first mover in an important, emerging industry
- Have a sustainable advantage
- Show excellent past price appreciation
- Have good people (excellent management and smart backing)
- Have potential for a household brand
- Be grossly overvalued, according to the media
These are exactly the kinds of companies that Fool co-founder David Gardner searches for in his Motley Fool Rule Breakers service. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that David recommended Under Armour back in August 2006.
Let's put Under Armour through the Rule Breaker gauntlet:
- Under Armour is the top dog and first mover in the surging compression performance apparel industry. It currently controls 75% of the market, despite cheaper products developed by Nike
- While UA doesn't hold a patent on its revolutionary fabric, its brand name and popularity among athletes of all levels should sustain and even grow its advantage down the road. Need proof of UA's brand weight? Just last month, the Chicago Cubs broke with tradition and allowed a company -- Under Armour, of course -- to advertise on the iconic bricks and ivy of Wrigley Field.
- UA shares are up 93% since its November 2005 IPO.
- UA founder/CEO Kevin Plank is quite an entrepreneur and still owns 28% of outstanding shares. UA also has a diversified and experienced board, including a former executive of Nautica, the CFO of Saks, and the CEO of SAP America -- there don't seem to be any pushovers or "yes men/women" in this group.
- UA doesn't just have the potential to become a household name; I'd argue that it already is. But it still has room to grow, and it's rapidly filling that void. For instance, in 2005 alone, UA's women's and youth categories grew 87% and 48%, respectively.
- Finally, UA is one of the media's favorite "overvalued" targets. Simply type the phrases "Under Armour" and "overvalued" into a Google search and you'll see what I mean.
So there you have it: a certified Rule Breaker poised for years of market-beating growth.
Want to learn more?
In the next round, I plan to discuss Under Armour's financials and valuation in more detail (this time I mean it). But before I can do so, Under Armour must advance past Select Comfort in the second round of The Motley Fool's Stock Madness 2007 contest.
You can help us decide the winner by logging on to Motley Fool CAPS, our online investing community, and voting on whether you think Under Armour will "outperform" or "underperform" the S&P 500 going forward.
Hope to see you next week!
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Todd Wenning owns shares of Starbucks. He is currently ranked 136 of 24,388 investors in CAPS. Under Armour is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Starbucks, Amazon, and eBay are Stock Advisor picks. Select Comfort is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. The Fool's disclosure policy will keep you warm and dry in all weather conditions.