Write a less than positive take on a high-flying micro-cap stock, and the e-mail flames invariably contain this phrase: "You probably don't get Travelzoo
With no company press release today, the stock is up more than 20% -- blowing away its previous all-time high by more than 10% in the process.
Travelzoo is the Internet's largest publisher of outstanding travel offers available from hundreds of travel companies. Revenue jumped 99%, and earnings skyrocketed 240% in the latest quarter. It is hard to ignore the company's outstanding 37.4% profit margin when other light-business model heavyweights such as Microsoft
What makes this company unique is its size. The combination of just 16.2 million shares, of which only 1.9 million are publicly available, and rapid profit growth has produced a stock price explosion like Taser
For those looking for value, this is not the place. The stock trades at 212 times current year earnings estimates and 109 times 2005 estimates.
Think the valuation is insane? In June, Seth Jayson called the valuation crazy with this: "Today, it's valued around $365 million. That's right, 52 clams per subscriber, or about $1.2 million per paying advertiser." Since then the company's market capitalization has more than tripled.
Travelzoo is picking low-hanging fruit from the likes of Orbitz
What's the catalyst behind today's gigantic move? With most of the public shares sold short, the rising stock price is probably squeezing bears and forcing them to buy back shares at ever-increasing prices. Bears were counting on competition, including Yahoo!'s
Those with almost eightfold increase in the stock price will say, "You don't get it." They are correct! Didn't get the dot-com stocks either and avoided a fall of biblical proportions. Where is the long-term competitive advantage that enables long-term business viability? Today's success is great -- but it isn't worth 200 times earnings. The best advice is to watch out!
Fool contributor W.D. Crotty does not own stock in any of the companies mentioned.