Under Armour (UA)

I thought I’d put together a quick overview on my thoughts at this point. The short has worked out pretty nicely.  I covered a small part of the position immediately after the earnings call, but now I’m regretting it. I didn’t believe the weakness in the price would be this pronounced.

The inventory buildup was extraordinarily bad this quarter. Accounts receivable continue to build – write off is looking more and more likely. Connected fitness continues to suck money out of profitable businesses for an uncertain payoff. And perhaps worst of all, the capex is going through the roof as UA builds out its massive new HQ. I respect Kevin Plank for what he’s doing for Baltimore in Port Covington, but I have to wonder if he isn’t taking his eye off the ball a bit.

My downside target based on a 30 PE of 2018 earnings gave me a stock price of $25-26. The upside was $50-51 based on a 40 PE of 2018 earnings if margins ever come back to historic highs. Is the short still worth it?

One thing I’m working on is holding my winners. I’ve noticed a consistent pattern of getting out of my positions months before the trend ends. I think there is a realistic possibility that Under Armour overshoots to the downside. After all, the company still has write-offs of inventory and accounts receivable that will pressure margins for the foreseeable future.

I recently went to an Academy near my apartment, and half of the (nearly empty) floor was covered in Under Armour merchandise. The channels are full. The company says it can expand the number of channels, but I have doubts regarding the potential sales of these channels. Kohl’s isn’t going to sell as much Under Armour as Macy’s.

UA is constrained until international and DTC grow big enough to overcome the relatively weaker North America sales.

As for the buyout rumors, I am pretty confident these are floated by traders with long positions looking to offload. 1) I really really don’t think Kevin Plank would ever want to sell. He has a specific vision and almost certainly wouldn’t trust someone else to execute this. 2) Who would buy? I really doubt Nike would be interested, especially at these prices. No one else is big enough. Maybe a PE firm would be crazy enough to do it, but again, I think Kevin Plank would fight like hell before being subjected to the oversight of a PE manager.

I think there’s a good chance that UA breaks technical resistance at $30, and then who knows where it stops? So I’m holding, although at a slightly smaller position.

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