The recent move to change Under Armour's (NYSE: UAA)(NYSE: UA) ticker symbols seemed to be an attempt to value the voting and non-voting shares more closely. However, it's an irrelevant point, because CEO Kevin Plank still has majority voting control -- and that's a good thing for the long term of the company.
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This podcast was recorded on Dec. 6, 2016.
Vincent Shen: Could you give us a little bit more of a view in terms of Plank, and what we can expect in the next five to 20 years? And generally, how do you viewsome of the initiatives he's pursuing? We know he's been pushing a lot withtechnology and investing; that's generally what drove their big share price drop earlier this year, was the announcement that they wouldn't hit their guidance for 2018. They'd hit on the top line, wouldn't hit with their operating income, but his reason being, "We're going to take some of that money and invest back in the company." What are your thoughts here?
Seth McNew:To me, as a shareholder, whether it's voting shares or non-voting shares, I'm more bullish on Under Armour knowing that Kevin Plank is going to remain in a dominant leadership position. To me, I think Kevin Plank has already shown in the last two years just where his long-term vision can take the company. Look five to 10 years ago, when footwear was laughed at, or getting into the connected-fitness space with these mobile fitness app acquisitions. In the lastcouple of years, those seemed likethey were maybe very expensive, and not the company's corecompetencies. Here, we see, this year, footwear has turned out to be 25% of sales, and one of theirmost important growth segments. They have over 190 million users across their connected-fitness platforms. So you start to see these long-term trends. The idea that Kevin Plank is completely focused on the long term, past 2018, like you said, the big share-price drop was because Kevin Plank came out and said they'reno longer foreseeing that they're going to make their 2015 goal of reaching $800 million operating profit by 2018. The short-term analysts really hit the stock on that, but looking past 2018, it'sbecause of these investments that he and his company are making into some future trends.
Shen:Yeah.I should note, since the C-class share dividend was issued when they did the split, the C shares areactually down about 43%, and the original A shares are down around 30%. The stock has taken a bit of a beating in the last six months or so. I think the big thing we can tie ourselves to, or at least keep in mind, is what you mentioned. That's just a view or guidance up to 2018. That's two years. If you're taking a more Foolish view of this, and you're looking 10 years out or even longer, and you believe in the incredible performance thecompany has been able to deliver year over year, in terms of its double-digit growth, top and bottom lines... we'll talk a little bit more, I think, aboutmore specific initiatives in the next few minutes.
But again, keep in mind, with this more bearish trading the shares have experienced, that's based on a 2018 view and the fact that Wall Street research analysts have thesevery complexevaluation models that are built, very much, on guidance like that. So, sure, the cut hurts. But again, that's just a two-year view of the company. Probably not the way, for example, I'm sure you, Seth, view its longer-term prospects.
McNew:Right, of course. We're looking at acompany for much more than the next year or two. But whatlooks really attractive about the stock now is that it's trading, looking out just one year at expected earnings, the stock is trading at one of the lowest price-to-future-earnings that it's ever traded at, at about 35 times for the non-voting shares and 44 times for the voting shares. Right now, to me, that looks like a discount, a chance to get into this company for a cheaper valuation than you would have ever been able to. And if you're looking past next year, to the next five or 10 years, that valuation starts to look a lot more attractive.
Seth McNew owns shares of Under Armour (C Shares). Vincent Shen has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Under Armour (A Shares) and Under Armour (C Shares). 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.