Current Price – $6.36
Expected Cash-out – $6.55-$7.5
Upside – 18%
Expiration Date – expected by June 30, 2017
In the base case this trade has only $20 upside, but there is an embedded free option which might or might not materialize. It is definitely an interesting case from educational perspective.
Pendrell is $150m market cap company that trades below cash balance. The company intends to go private via 1-for-100 reverse share split. The board of director has already approved the transaction, and the vote will be put forward to shareholders during the next meeting (expected in mid June). Company plans to finalize the reverse split by the end of June (if approved by shareholders).
The cash-out price for the fractional shares has not been determined yet, but I expect it to be at least $6.55 and potentially up to $7.5 (my reasoning below). Downside is well protected by the cash on the balance sheet.
The trade here is either to buy 99 shares and have a guaranteed cash-out upon reverse split, or buy larger amount with expectation that shares will pop-up upon announcement of larger than $6.55 cash-out price.
Pendrell owns and licenses patents in memory and storage technologies, digital media, digital cinemas and wireless technologies. Current licensees include many blue chip names (Sony, Toshiba. Amazon, DTV and etc). Licensing fees seem to be settled in one-off lump sum payments, so there is no continuous income stream (e.g. in Q3 2016 no revenues were generated). Company has also filed claims or started litigation against a number of other blue-chip names which infringe its patents. It has also lost cases against Google and Apple (both cases currently in appeal).
Further financial performance depends on success of signing new licensing agreements or winning court cases. As my thesis is more short term oriented, new agreements are not that relevant and I assume company will burn through $6m of cash in the next two quarters (which seems to be the latest run-rate assuming zero revenues).
Eagle River controls 67% of the voting power and has 33% economic ownership.
Reasons for $6.55+ cash-out price
I expect the cash-out price for the fractional shares (those owning less than 100 pre-reverse split) to be at least $6.55/share and potentially more:
- On March 9, 2017 the company agreed to buy $2.4m (10% of total) shares from one of the larger shareholders at $6.55. I think this sets the bottom price at which fractional shares might be cashed out.
- Additionally, the above share purchase agreement has a clause that $6.55 might be adjusted upwards if Pendrell buys or sells substantial number of shares for a higher price. I take it as a sign that further upside has been considered and therefore probability of it is not zero.
- Pendrell's book value per share is $7.85 (excluding value of patents), which is comprised of cash ($7.05 per share) and net working capital ($0.8 per share). Expected cash-burn during upcoming two quarters would reduce BV to $7.5. Anything below these book values would be a steal from minority shareholders. However, the largest shareholder has 65% of the votes and thus low cash-out price (i.e. $6.55/share) is certainly possible and likely.
- What gives a bit of hope is that the reverse split transaction has been recommended by the Special Committee, which is comprised of independent directors, who are supposed to be unaffiliated with the largest shareholder. And this is the main reason why I consider it likely for the the cash-out price to be fair and closer to current BV per share (or at least closer to Cash balance per share).
The main risk here is that the reverse split is done by cashing-out fractional shares at $6.55. I consider this to be the most likely scenario and this would result in only minimal upside relative to current share price.
Another factor is that the company might incur significant litigation expenses related to patent infringements during the upcoming quarter, which would reduce cash balance as well as BV per share. Litigation expenses have been limited over the last few quarters, but due to new cases and appeals these might be higher in Q1.
Also the company might cancel the intended reverse split for any other reasons. In this case the share price might actually increase due to cash + NWC being significantly above the current market cap and no pending delisting over the next few months.
Stock has been volatile over the last month and there might be better opportunities to enter this position (e.g. under $6/share, where it traded just a week ago).