One of my concerns with Rick's argument is that Borders Group's
That sounds strange, I know. But here's what I mean. The company treats its loyal club members pretty well with special promotional discounts and has recently added Borders Bucks into the program. So while the revamped program may not have come in time to have an impact yet -- management's words, not mine -- I think the program has a tough row to hoe.
If you're offering an incentive for your best customers to buy more, and fewer of those customers buy less, that's not a good way to start a turnaround from the basket into which the company is putting most of its eggs: the superstore. Sorry, I think this is a turnaround that's not going to turn.
But let's say it does turn, and operating margins get to 6% by 2009. And let's say the company exceeds analysts' sales estimates and generates $4 billion in sales. That gives $240 million in EBIT. Let's add back $120 million in depreciation -- the company averages about 3% of sales -- giving it $360 million in EBITDA.
The company's average EV/EBITDA multiple over the past seven years is about 6, giving an enterprise value of $2.16 billion. That's an 11% return over 2.5 years, and is not an attractive reward for the risk an investor would be taking.
Sorry Rick, but the math speaks louder than the words.
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