Since American Realty Capital Properties (NYSE:VER) went public in September 2011, its stock has lagged the total return delivered by the benchmark S&P 500 by nearly 50%. While we can't say for certain what the next three years will look like, there are three reasons to think its stock will rise.
Strong leadership from new management
ACRP President David Kay, soon to become CEO, took the helm of the real estate investment trust last December. In a letter to shareholders six months into his tenure -- when the company was undergoing massive changes -- he told investors about his tenture at Capital Automotive, the REIT where he was co-founder and CFO.
Kay noted the company went public at $15 a share in 1998, but later saw its stock fall more than 40% to below $9 after it missed analyst expectations and the broader market began to tumble.
Despite the noise and questions, the Capital Automotive management team and our Board persevered and never strayed from our strategy, which we strongly believed would drive long-term value. We continued to execute large and small transactions and issued equity at prices we deemed could add value to the company. We eventually sold the company in September 2005 at $38.75 per share.
Kay clearly delivered impressive results at his last job, and his letter to ACRP investors makes clear his goals with his new employer:
Rest assured that our emphasis has been, and will continue to be, on driving long-term value for all stockholders by establishing ARCP as the leading net lease REIT through a focused and deliberate plan.
As we move forward, we remain focused on our current strategy, which we believe will position the company for long-term success...We will continue to take actions to drive long-term value for all of our stockholders.
If Kay can lead here in the same manner he did at Capital Automotive -- in an effort to deliver value to shareholders -- then American Realty Capital Properties should undoubtedly see its stock rise.
The Red Lobster deal is a winner
As noted in the coverage of ACRP's earnings, the company has gone through an incredible, fascinating change in the last year. Massive acquisitions have more than doubled the value of its real estate -- from $7.2 billion to $17.4 billion -- and its total property count has spiked from roughly 1,200 to nearly 4,500.
While it has maintained admirable diversity among the mixture of its tenants and its occupancy remains impressively high, the percentage of tenants deemed investment grade troublingly has fallen from 69.3% to 46%. This is undeniably a red flag.
Speaking of red, ARCP's most curious move was its $1.5 billion acquisition of 500 Red Lobster properties in May.
And while it was one of the contributing factors for its drop in investment grade tenants over the last year, it turns out there are actually a number of compelling things to like about the deal.
Among the acquired properties, 93.5% were signed to long 25-year leases, with annual rent increases of 2% a year. That means a property leased for $1 million -- simply an estimate -- would pay nearly $32 million in rent over the course of those 25 years.
In addition to the deal's solid financial fundamentals, ARCP also noted that the private equity firm that now owns Red Lobster, Golden Gate Capital, is an "ideal sponsor" that "has a long and successful history of buying and improving the operations of restaurants and retail businesses, deep financial resources to fund restructured operations where needed, as well as a long, successful history with our company."
This is to say nothing of the fact that nearly 90% of the locations have been either built in the last 10 years or renovated over the past five years. American Realty Capital Properties said in an investor presentation it "visited all sites, confirming stores are well-located in strong markets and positioned for value appreciation."
The fact that Red Lobster now represents 11% of the revenue ARCP collects means the success of this deal will be critical for the company as a whole. Although we cannot say for certain how this deal will play out, it seems to be structured in such a way that it could be a distinct long-term winner.
Impressive results delivered from all the change
Lastly, and more generally, the key to success for ARCP moving forward will be strong performance as a result of the significant changes the company has undergone over the last 12 months.
There have been so many moving pieces and parts -- the number of shares it has issued has risen from 185 million to 902 million -- that success for the REIT and its investors will be driven by simply ensuring all of the various actions it has undertaken are managed beneficially.
It's far too early to determine exactly what the result will be. But if the company can navigate down the path to success it has laid out, its shareholders should see impressive returns.
Patrick Morris has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.