We have a lot of unusual developments to unpack this week. From the “Amazon of Africa” that’s set to IPO at a $1 billion valuation, to the most grim milestone retail has hit yet, all the way to the $27 billion battle between Apple and Qualcomm, Dan tells listeners what they can expect from all the multi-billion dollar maneuverings.
He then introduces this week’s guest, Whitney Tilson.
Tilson is a former hedge-fund manager who graduated at the top of his class at Harvard and Harvard Business School, helped launch Teach for America, then later launched his own hedge fund, where he grew from $1 million to $200 million over a period of 20 years. He has met Warren Buffett… Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton… was a regular on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and Fox Business… has appeared on 60 Minutes, been profiled by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and more. His calls have been so prescient that CNBC once nicknamed him “The Prophet.”
Whitney has thoughts on Tesla, a company he has mixed feelings about, and why, despite it having been the worst short of his career, he still hopes they’re successful.
You also won’t want to miss his insights on the FAANG stock with more than 1 billion monthly users in not one but four products – and how it’s up there with Berkshire for a “forever holding.”
Special Offer for Investor Hour Listeners Only – Whitney Tilson’s Empire Financial Click Here
Founder and CEO of Empire Financial Research
Whitney Tilson is the founder and CEO of Empire Financial Research, as well as the editor of the Empire Investment Report and Empire Stock Investor.
He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with a bachelor's degree in government in 1989. After college, he helped Wendy Kopp launch Teach for America and then spent two years as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1994, where he graduated in the top 5% of his class and was named a Baker Scholar.
Tilson spent much of his childhood in Tanzania and Nicaragua (his parents, both educators, were former Peace Corps volunteers who have since retired to Kenya). As a young child, he was part of the famed Stanford "marshmallow test." Prior to creating Empire Financial Research, Whitney Tilson founded and ran Kase Capital Management, which managed three value-oriented hedge funds and two mutual funds. Starting out of his bedroom with only $1 million, Tilson grew assets under management to more than $200 million.
An accomplished writer, Tilson recently published his fourth book, The Art of Playing Defense: How to Get Ahead by Not Falling Behind. He has also co-authored two books, The Art of Value Investing: How the World's Best Investors Beat the Market (2013) and More Mortgage Meltdown: 6 Ways to Profit in These Bad Times (2009), and was a contributor to Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger (2005), the definitive book on Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger.
He has also written for Forbes, the Financial Times, Kiplinger's, the Motley Fool, and TheStreet.com. He was featured in two 60 Minutes segments - one in December 2008 about the housing crisis, which won an Emmy, and another in March 2015 about Lumber Liquidators. Tilson has appeared dozens of times on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, and Fox Business Network and has been profiled by the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.
In his spare time, Tilson is involved with a number of charities focused on education reform and Africa. For his philanthropic work, he received the 2008 John C. Whitehead Social Enterprise Award from the Harvard Business School Club of Greater New York. He is a member (and served as chairman) of the Manhattan chapter of the Young Presidents' Organization.
Tilson is an avid mountaineer, having climbed the Nose of El Capitan in June 2020 and summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Blanc, the Matterhorn, and the Eiger. He also regularly competes in obstacle course races and is the all-time record holder in the 50+ age group at the 24-hour World's Toughest Mudder, having completed 75 miles and nearly 300 obstacles in 2016. Tilson currently lives in Manhattan with his wife of 27 years, with whom he has three young adult daughters.
NOTES & LINKS
02:55: Dan gets into this week’s rant – the five financial clues, or metrics, that anyone can learn to easily find or calculate from any company’s financial statements.
12:04: Most people hear “shareholder rewards” and think dividends. But Dan explains there’s another side to rewarding shareholders – his fourth “financial clue” that can seriously boost your wealth in a tax-efficient way, which is why it’s under attack by Washington.
16:58: Apple’s lawsuit with Qualcomm is shaping up to be the biggest intellectual property suit in history, and Dan explains what the stakes are for Apple and four or five of its suppliers in a $27 billion face-off.
21:20: If you needed more confirmation of the “Death of Retail” Dan provides the latest grim benchmark – more store closures so far this year than in all of 2018. That’s more than 5,000 and counting.
24:30: Dan can’t remember the last time an African IPO crossed his radar – but that’s exactly what’s shaping up right now with the billion-dollar start-up being called “the Amazon of Africa.”
26:41: Dan introduces this week’s podcast guest. Whitney Tilson is a former hedge-fund manager who graduated at the top of his class at Harvard and Harvard Business School, helped launch Teach for America, then later launched his own hedge fund, where he grew from $1 million to $200 million over a period of 20 years. He has met Warren Buffett… Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton… was a regular on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and Fox Business… has appeared on 60 Minutes, been profiled by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and more. His calls have been so prescient that CNBC once nicknamed him “The Prophet.”
27:50: Dan asks Whitney about Tesla, and Whitney gives a more nuanced answer than most of the Tesla skeptics we’ve interviewed, on a stock he has mixed feelings about.
28:30: Whitney reveals the worst short of his entire career, when a company he saw as spiraling towards bankruptcy “pulled off a miracle.”
33:09: How does a car company with a cult following eventually collapse? Whitney points out the market where Tesla cars are being outsold by competitors by 5-to-1 – and it could be a sign of things to come.
40:09: Tilray stock went up 17-fold last year before crashing down – and Whitney reveals the one person in America whose investment he knew signaled the top of the bubble “to the day, to the hour.”
52:18: Whitney reveals the FAANG stock with seven business boasting 1 billion monthly users each. The cash-gushing machine even makes Dan want to buy it.
1:10:34: Dan reaches into the mailbag with a question from , who asks about Altius Minerals and which exchange to buy shares on and which may have a better value.
Announcer: Broadcasting from Baltimore Maryland and all around the world, you're listening to the Stansberry Investor Hour. Tune in each Thursday on iTunes for the latest episodes of the Stansberry Investor Hour. Sign up for the free show archive at InvestorHour.com. Here is your host, Dan Ferris.
Dan Ferris: Hello, and welcome everyone to another episode of the Stansberry Investor Hour. I'm your host, Dan Ferris. I'm the editor of Extreme Value, a value-investing service published by Stansberry Research. We have a really cool show. I'm just going to get to the rant and then we're going to talk about some other stuff. We have an awesome guest today. So here we go with the rant. OK, listen, the last two weekly rants were about gold. You remember two weeks ago I thought everybody should own some gold at least as an insurance policy and then we talked about other reasons and other good things about gold.
And then last week, I said if you want to invest in gold mining stocks or any mining stocks – really, gold, copper, silver, led, zinc whatever – you should look for companies that do a few different types of businesses, but not mining companies because mining is a terrible business. And I said you should look for royalties and streams, prospect generation, asset management, collateralized lending. I think I mentioned all this and that's what I recommended that you do. Now, I can't help mentioning that the current issue of our Extreme Value newsletter, written by myself and Mike Barrett, just came out last Friday. It's the April issue – the April 2019 issue.
And we recommended our third – and I'm going to say probably final, maybe not definitely final recommendation in the mining industry. It's a royalty company just like I was talking about and it's got a great management team, it's got a really interesting business model. That's all I'll say for now, the rest of it is for Extreme Value subscribers. If you want to become one of those you can go to ExtremeValueOffer.com. And I really – honestly – did not plan to talk about gold two weeks leading up to that new royalty stock recommendation. I really didn't, it just turned out that way so I just thought I would mention it.
But this week, I thought I might start a five-part series of rants but I think I'm just going to do one and then I'll see what you guys tell me in the feedback because I don't want to commit to getting technical for five weeks. And I'm going to get a little technical today. I'm going to talk about something that may be familiar to you if you're familiar with stuff I've written. Otherwise, you've probably never heard of this before. So I'm going to talk about what I call my "Five Essential Financial Clues." They are five financial metrics anybody can easily learn to find or calculate from any company's financial statements.
And we just found over time – I found that most of the really great businesses that we have recommended in the newsletter and that I found personally over 30 years and in this business for the last 21 years. They have at least two or three of these five clues and most of the really great ones have four or even all five of them. So the Five Essential Financial Clues are like a stock screener that kind of helps you pick out great businesses. Now if you use those five as a stock screener, not everything that it picks is going to be great. But I think most of the great ones you'll find in the stock market if you're doing research there.
Most of the great ones I've found over the past few decades tend to have, like I said, four or five of them. All right. I think these numbers that I'm going to tell you about are so important, I cannot imagine picking your own stocks and running your own portfolio without knowing them. Whether you think they're important or not, you should know them. They're pretty basic analytical data points. And this is a key, key point – listen up, sheiks. This is where analysis begins, not where it ends. This is, before I talk about these five numbers which are – I'll just go through them real quick probably towards the end of this rant – but the important thing here I wanted to get to is I think a lot of people make a huge, huge mistake when they set out to manage their own money and buy their own stocks. They're all looking for this magic metric – what's the magic metric?
What's the one number that I can point to that every time that number is in a certain place I'll make a ton of money buying stocks based on that? There's no such thing. There is no such thing. And these five numbers that I'm about to tell you about, like I said, they're the beginning. This is where you start – this is where analysis starts, not where it ends. Analysis is a process like by the time we get to recommending a stock in Extreme Value sometimes we'll have watched it literally for a couple of years waiting for it to get cheap enough, waiting for the business to develop in a certain way or whatever and it's always for weeks and weeks. It's never just like, "Hey, I just heard of this company yesterday and the newsletter comes out tomorrow, let's do it." It doesn't work like that for us, for a two-man team that writes Extreme Value and I don't think it should work that way for you, either.
You should really take your time and get to know the companies. If you're putting real money into real stocks that you're picking you decide when to buy, you decide when to sell, you need to know what you're getting into. So there's no magic metric stop thinking that way. It's a process. You're peeling off the layers of an onion when you get to know a new company. There's no magic metric. So with all that fan fare I'm just going to tell you about these five numbers and they're pretty cool I think. The first one and it's first on purpose is free cash flow. This is just the cash profit that a business makes after all the taxes, expenses, interest charges, and capital expenditures necessary to maintain and grow the business are all paid. After all that you get free cash flow.
And when you tell somebody you're a value investor, right, they eventually – they want to know, "Where does this" – you know, you tell them every business has an intrinsic value and they say well where does that come from? How do you figure that out? Well, most of the time you can't really do it without free cash flow or a similar number, right? Warren Buffett uses a similar number that he calls usually "pre-tax owner earnings," he calls it. But it's just about the same thing. And the key point is that it's not just earnings – it's earnings minus capital necessary to maintain and grow the business because that's not on the income statement. You've got to go over and look on the cash flow statement for that number. Capital expenditure. That's why we use free cash flow. But whatever you call it, it's really a very important number.
And it's where, like, a business gets it's value by all the excess cash that it throws off over the life of the business. That's what it's worth to you as an owner. That's what a stock is worth to you as an owner. And this is where you start figuring that out. Free cash flow is easy to calculate – you just go to the cash flow statement. You find two numbers: operating cashflow and capital expenditures. And free cash flow is operating cash flow minutes capital expenditures. That's it. Now, sometimes, they call operating cash flow payments for acquisition of property plant and equipment or additions to property plant and equipment and sometimes operating cash flow is called cash flows generated by operating activities or something like that, but they always look like something like that. And it's good to know those numbers. If you want to know more about those, we talk about them in Extreme Value all the time. But that's the first one.
Second one is consistent profit margins. Why consistent? Well, because in capitalism it's just normal for profit margins to get narrower over time. That's what competition does in capitalism, right? If somebody is earning a big fat profit margin, another company can come in and an easy way to compete with that first company would be to say, "Well, we're going to do the same thing and we're just going to accept a little bit less profit margin." And so then they get into a war and if the services are similar enough they can dwindle the profit down to nothing – literally zero. So it becomes a bit of an anomaly when a company has consistent profit margins over a long period of time.
And the consistency is the most important part, like, what's a good example? Costco is a good example. I think their net margin is still right around 1.5%. 1.5%. The gross margin has been around 12% or 13% for a long time and that's just the way they run the business. They have, like – I think they have 4,000 SKUs – 4,000 different products in an average Costco warehouse. So you go into Walmart or a grocery store you get 30 kinds of mustard and you go into Costco you get two kinds of mustard but they have an entire giant pallet stacked up to the ceiling and you buy them in eight-packs or something. So they move the inventory real fast and they can charge a lower profit margin so it will make plenty of money. Consistent profit margins. That's the second of the five clues.
The third one is a good balance sheet. We all want a good balance sheet because a good balance sheet – the definition of a great balance sheet is having a lot more cash than debt, right? If you owe half a million bucks on your house and you've got $10 million dollars in the bank you've got a phenomenal balance sheet. Even if you've got a million in cash and half a million on your house. That's a pretty good balance sheet. Having more cash then you owe. And I think Apple – I think – I don't know the numbers off the top of my head, like $250 billion in cash maybe these days and something like $140 or $160 billion in debt. Don't quote me.
But it's a ton of both. It's more debt than you can imagine, but it's much more cash than you can imagine – so it's a really great balance sheet. There are other great balance sheets where you get companies that might not have more cash than debt, but they cover their interest payments so many times over – like 10 or 12 or some I've seen like 20, 30, 40 times sometimes. And that's a great balance sheet, too. That's No. 3 – a good balance sheet. So we got free cash flow consistent margins, good balance sheet... we're cranking through these.
The next financial clue is shareholder rewards. What does that mean? Well, I found that most of these great companies that have all these financial traits – they generally do a good job of buying back their stock and a lot of them do a great job of paying dividends. Some of them pay, like, they'll pay a higher dividend. They'll raise their dividend every year for, like, decades and decades and decades. And we had in the Extreme Value model portfolio – we did have Procter & Gamble for a while. It's not in there anymore, but they pay a higher dividend every year. I think it's something like 60 years – it's just an insanely long amount of time. They just keep raising the dividend again and again. So a really good company will do that and they'll also be a really good opportunistic buyer of their own shares.
So a typical kind of lousy corporate share repurchase – they'll just buy the shares no matter what they're trading at and the more money they make the more shares they buy and they don't mind paying an exorbitant valuation for their own shares. That's not the way to do it. The way to do it is to be very opportunistic and wait until the stock gets good and cheap and then do a massive repurchase. It's rare when you find that but that's how the initial guy, Henry Singleton, from Teledyne Corporation – that's how he figured out how to do it. His stock was cheap, his business was gushing cash flow, and he thought, "Well, this is an easy decision." Started buying back his own shares and then the thing went like five-to-one pretty quick or more. I think it might have gone 10-to-one, but anyway it went way the heck up because he was buying shares cheap. So No. 4 – shareholder rewards. That's share repurchases and dividends.
No. 5 in the Five Essential Financial Clues is consistently high return on equity. OK, what does that mean? Well, return on equity is kind of simple, actually. If a business were a bank account, return on equity is the interest rate you would earn on all the money you leave in it. OK, it's that's simple. So we look for consistently high return on equity because, remember, we talked about profit margins and we said in capitalism over time it's normal for the profit margins to get smaller and smaller and smaller as competition comes in well same thing with return on equity. The returns go down and down and down over time usually because competition whittles them away.
So if you can find a business with a consistently high return on equity over a pretty good period of time – you know, 15-20 years or even 10 years sometimes can be a signal that something really great is happening. You could have a really great business on your hands. High consistently. High What's high? High is like 20% on equity or more. I have recommended stocks where it was in the teens, high teens – you know 15%, 16%, 17% return on equity, but pretty much 20% or more is high, especially if it's consistent. So those are the Five Financial Clues. Free cash flow and we want a business that gushes free cash flow, right? Consistent profit margins, good balance sheet, shareholder rewards, buybacks and dividends, remember that? And No. 5 – consistently high return on equity.
And what did I say before. This is where analysis begins, not ends. There are no magic metrics. These are not the magic metrics. In fact, one of the things I'm trying to do by giving you these things is kind of just break up the idea in your head that there's one number that you can follow that's going to lead you to own to an easy fortune in the stock market. It just doesn't work that way. And if you really want to get to know the businesses that you own –whether it's a whole business or a share of a business in the stock market, these numbers are kind of important – are very important. They're basic analytical data points where you can start thinking about whether or not the business is really good. That's the rant. Write in at [email protected] Let me know what you think and let's get on and find out what's new in the world.
What's new? One thing that's new but not real new – it's kind of an ongoing new thing is that Apple, you know Apple right? The iPhone maker. And Qualcomm, the big smartphone chip maker. They don't like each other and they have a lawsuit – Apple's lawsuit against Qualcomm is set to begin jury selection. And this could be potentially, like, the biggest intellectual property case ever because there's just so much money at stake. Apple – and I think four to five of its suppliers – have suits against Qualcomm that could – they're trying to sue them for, like, $27 billion total. And the CEOs are expected to take the stand. Maybe it will be, like, a four- to five-week trial. I don't know, I'm just guessing based on press reports. And Tim Cook is the CEO of Apple, Steve Mollenkopf is the CEO of Qualcomm they have had a very tense meeting a year ago to try to hash out the patent issues that they're having problems with.
Now this is a huge a complicated legal matter, but I did notice that about a month ago, in the middle of March, Qualcomm did win a victory against Apple when a jury in San Diego – a federal jury – found that Apple owed Qualcomm $31 million for infringing on three Qualcomm patents. Now I don't know if that's meaningful, if that's telling us how this might got, but I've tried to read a bunch of different sources about this because it is a big complex legal thing and one of them suggested that this is kind of a test of Qualcomm's business model. And one of the beefs that Apple has is that apparently when you deal with Qualcomm you pay them twice. You've got to sign a licensing agreement up front and you pay for that and then you pay again in the price of chips where the patents apply.
And they don't like that. And Apple and these other supplier companies are asking – they want an end to this and they want a refund of like $9 billion – which may be tripled – I think that's how we get to the $27 billion. They're asking for $9 billion and it could be tripled if the jury finds in Apple's favor and finds that there were antitrust violations. So that's where we get the $27 billion. But there are billions on the line even if that doesn't happen. So this is huge – it could be huge for both companies. I have no idea how this is going to turn out, but we'll see and we'll see if it has major implications for both businesses. They're both being essentially pressured legally by the other company to do something that will wind up with them potentially making a lot less money. So, a really interesting situation. Lots of press reports, lots to unpack... we're not going to do it here. I'm not a lawyer, but I sure as heck want to see the effect on both their stock prices as this thing plays out. Interesting.
Next, the retail world has passed a key benchmark – and not a good one. Apparently, U.S. retailers have announced more store closures so far this year then they did in all of last year. So in all of last year there were 5,864 store closures in the U.S. retail sector. And so far this year they've announced 5,994 – about 130 more than all of last year. Of course this is just because we're all online now right. We're all buying stuff online. We've bought toilet paper on Amazon. We don't even go to go Costco for toilet paper anymore. Actually, my wife doesn't like the stuff we bought online so I will be going back to Costco. You know if you find the good stuff online you don't even need to do that.
And this guy Scott Galloway... He wrote a book called The Four about Amazon and Facebook and Google and Apple. And he's got a lot of smart things to say about these companies. And one of the things he was saying one time was, you know, right now an Amazon Prime member spends like $1,300 a year over time. This is going to be $13,000 a year because they're just going to take away all the boring parts of shopping you don't want. And what do you do now for the boring parts of shopping? Well, you go to a grocery store. Maybe you're still going to the mall for some things. The data I'm looking at it says for every 1% increase in online penetration you got 8,000 to 8,500 stores that will be closing. That's just brutal, isn't it?
And the record for a single year is actually 2017. Remember, the retail apocalypse – it was a big deal. And just under 8,000 retail stores closed or the closures were announced that year. I don't know if they all took place in 2017, but they were all announced that year. And this year Payless Shoes alone is closing all 2,500 of its U.S. stores, so almost half of its total that's been announced so far this year. So it's brutal out there in retail land. And it's easy to see why every time you talk about almost any business these days somebody says, "Yeah, but what about Amazon?'
They're going to destroy, it right? I'm invited to the VALUEx Vail conference which takes place in June. And I go every year, and I get an invitation, it's run by Vitaliy Katsenelson who we had on the program a while back and I think this year I didn't present last year and this year I would like to present. And no matter what idea you know I sent an idea in and Vitaliy said, "OK, well what about Amazon? You really have to tell us about Amazon with this company." So it's not just stuff in the news – it's real, real investors are really worried about Amazon and with good reason. They do what they do very well.
All right one more item here. I've never seen anything like this in my life. I can't remember the last time I said there was an African IPO but yes, the Amazon of Africa. It's like a billion-dollar startup that just went public. And the company is called Jumia. J-U-M-I-A. And they raised just under $200 million in their IPO, and the shares – I think it went public around $14. I was just looking at a chart – I didn't look at the news or anything, but the chart just indicated that the thing started trading at $14 and it was like $30-something when I looked at it. The ticker symbol is JMIA. Yeah, $37 – it's up as I'm talking to you. That's like what from $14 to $37 much better than a double just in a couple days here.
So, wow, that's really cool. We have an African-focused venture-capital-funded tech company that has gone public on major global exchange in New York, and on the NYSE and it's doing great and people want it. I wonder... IPOs do great sometimes in the first couple of days, but looking at how disappointing Lyft has been and the prospects for that business ever making money with Uber – the bigger competitor – losing $3 billion a year, here we have an IPO that looks like it might work. Nice to see. So that's all the news I want to talk about today. We're going to talk about – I had some news on Tesla, but instead of doing that let's just get to our guest, Whitney Tilson. He's going to give us an update on Tesla and lots of other cool stuff, so let's do that right now.
All right, everybody, as promised, we have a really great guest today. It's Whitney Tilson. And Whitney Tilson is a former hedge-fund manager who graduated at the top of his class at Harvard and Harvard Business School he helped launch Teach for America. And then later launched his own hedge fund where he grew from $1 million to $200 million over a period of 20 years. Not bad. He's the most connected man on Wall Street. He's met Warren Buffett and Presidents Barrack Obama and Bill Clinton. He was a regular on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox Business, he's appeared on 60 Minutes. He's been profiled by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and more. And his causes have been so prescient that CNBC once nicknamed him "The Prophet." Please welcome, Whitney Tilson. Hello, Whitney.
Whitney Tilson: Thank you, Dan. Thanks for having me.
Dan Ferris: Actually, Whitney, I have been doing the podcast since what, last fall or so and you're my first repeat guest.
Whitney Tilson: That's a great honor. I forget what I said last time, so I'll try to say something fresh and new for you.
Dan Ferris: It's funny, because people ask me about Tesla all the time and I know you talk a lot about it but I just – people asked me about Tesla this week and I said hold that thought I'm talking to Whitney Tilson on the podcast this week. So I was wondering if you wouldn't mind just kind of top-of-your-head sort of giving us the update. You put out a lot of great e-mails about this so I know you're kind of up to speed on it.
Whitney Tilson: It's such a fascinating company and I'm going to try and be synched here, but it's hard because there's so many moving pieces and I have such mixed feelings about both the company and its products and its entrepreneurial founder Elon Musk. It was my worst short of my hedge-fund career. Just as background, in 2013 the company was within a week of filing for bankruptcy was my analysis at the time later – confirmed in various books, etc. – but the company pulled off a miracle. The Model S launched. It was an absolute hit. Everyone I know who has ever owned the car loves it more than life itself. And the stock became a phenomenon and developed a cult following and it went up from $35 to over $200 on a rope.
And I got burned pretty badly on the short side because I dug in my heels I clung to my old investment thesis. I didn't recognize that, "Hey Elon Musk and his engineers have pulled off a miracle here." They drew an insides trade against me. I thought I made a high-probability bet but they pulled it off and I should have recognized that and gotten out quickly once the story changed. It's very dangerous being short open-ended situations in huge global markets with a stock with a cult following. So some very good lessons on the short side.
So for years I warned all my short-selling friends. Don't short Tesla for the reasons I just cited. But I reversed myself and about a month ago or a month and a half ago when they pre-announced that Q1 earnings – not earnings but deliveries were going to come in well short of expectations when they announced that, contrary to previous guidance, that they would be consistently profitable going forward as they were in Q3 and Q4 last year that they were going to lose money in the first quarter it became clear to me that Tesla has a big demand problem and I went very public and said that I think Tesla is the most dangerous stock in America right now. It's got a $50 billion market cap almost and I think that could get cut by two-thirds. I predicted a stock price below $100 a share about a month ago.
And so far, events since then have only reinforced my view that the company has incredible cars but has a lot of competition coming and they have solved their production difficulties. But now they've got a demand problem thanks in part to a lot of new competition coming out. In many ways, Tesla has done a great service to humanity for being a pioneer in electric cars and almost single-handily forcing almost every major auto manufacturer in the world to invest billions of dollars – tens of billions of dollars – collectively in developing cars in this space. That is great for humanity, but now that that title wave of competition is hitting the showrooms. It's very bad for Tesla. So, interestingly enough, I think that Tesla is to some extent going to be a victim of it's own success so I sort of hope they're successful but I think they're like so many trailblazing early pioneering companies – they're going to suffer mightily as all the giants of the industry come in and start competing with them.
Dan Ferris: That's sort of where we are right now, you think? We're at the, I don't know, call it "inflection," if you will – where competition becomes so great.
Whitney Tilson: Yeah, this is what I look for was an investor, both on the long side and the short side where I look for inflection points where a stock is about to move in a big way in one direction or the other, and obviously go long the upward moves – attempt to short or at least avoid the downward moves and I really think Tesla hit an inflection point a little over a month ago. And the key to these inflection points is perceiving something that becomes obvious to me, but the market hasn't yet figured it out and hence a big mispricing in the stock.
So Tesla's stock has such a cult following that on the fundamentals, the big loss that's expected in the first quarter the drying up of demand. The fact that the new Jaguar and Audi cars over in Europe in Norway, for example, which has been one of the leading markets in Europe. The Model S and Model X, and not counting the Model 3 – where there's a lot of pent-up demand – but the older Tesla cars that are competing head-to-head against Jaguar and Audi are getting outsold five-to-one by the Jaguar and Audi cars.
So there's evidence everywhere that Tesla has a big demand problem, and you can just simply look at the balance sheet and the cash flow statement they've got an awful lot of debt. They really need to raise capital. It's really puzzling to me that they haven't. So this could – I don't think the company is going to go bankrupt because there are enough deep-pocketed people that have bought into the story and just love Elon Musk and worship the ground he walks on, so Tesla will probably be able to raise money but I think it may be in a distressed situation in the range of $100 a share nowhere near today's level above $250.
Dan Ferris: Right, and as we've talked about in the past, too, that moment can come upon you with a suddenness that will just shock you one day you can wake up and you're down 30%, 40%, 50%, something like that.
Whitney Tilson: Yes, I've seen it happen and Tesla is certainly the kind of stock where that could happen. Though, honestly, if you ask me, the way I think it gets to $100 a share is not on a straight line, but rather what it's been doing for the past month – which is just almost every day as the scales fall from incremental more investors' eyes every day, the stock just sort of bleeds. It just gets weaker and weaker and it just slowly declines.
Dan Ferris: That sounds like a lot of fun.
Whitney Tilson: Shorting is a very difficult business, and I caution your listeners about running out and shorting Tesla. It's also the kind of stock that expectations are now pretty low. And so any hint of good news, any hint that they're raising capital, the stock could easily pop 10% or 20% so you have to be prepared for that. Every stock on its way down a long ways usually doubles at some points on the way down. So it's one to be cautious but it's an absolutely fascinating case study. It's really the most interesting case study I've seen since Valeant rose 20-fold and then declined by 97% where you had some of the smartest investors in the world on both sides long and short that stock. And I never had any position in either side in Valeant but I studied it super closely because it was such a great case study I learned so much from it in so many ways. So I think Tesla is similar.
Dan Ferris: Well, thank you for the update, and who knows – maybe if this thing crashes and burns we'll have you back on to talk about it someday. But I want to tell the listener, listen to what Whitney just told you about shorting because he knows and I know this from personal experience. Whitney, I remember one time I was in the audience and you were speaking at one of the value-investing congress events. And you were literally at that moment on stage saying I can't remember the name of the stock, I'm sorry, but you were saying, "Don't short this thing, it's really you're like standing in front of a freight train," and I swear to you just at the moment you were saying that the fellow next to me leaned over and said, "I just got my short called away." It was just the weirdest thing. In other words, you were spot on to the minute and I keep telling people this about you. He's spot on to the minute. What, did you call the bitcoin top – was, like, within an hour. You and I both know there's a lot of luck involved.
Whitney Tilson: Yeah, sometimes. Yeah, I mean I called the top of TLRY and the pot stock bubble to the hour. I called the top of bitcoin at $20,000 to the hour. TLRY was at $300 for those that follow that stock, but sometimes I've been off by years and sometimes I've been wrong but as I get more experienced as an investor to really get the timing on something right you have to do more than just the fundamental analysis which I've always done. But you start to get a feel for the market – for investor psychology and you know you look for little tells. In the case of bitcoin, what finally caused me to say, "That's it," I mean I had been skeptical of bitcoin forever – it's inherently worthless it will never become an instrument that will gain any widespread acceptance. There's no way to calculate its intrinsic value.
So I've been skeptical of bitcoin for a while, but what caused me to call the top when I did is, I was getting in one week I got three calls or e-mails from friends of mine. You know my tennis pro, some guy who runs a nonprofit, neither of them whom know anything about investing and then the clencher was a buddy of mine who is a former Navy SEAL who now trains Navy SEALs out in Coronado in San Diego. He told me that Navy SEALs were coming back from deployment in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and Somalia and getting their hardship bonuses for the combat duty that they had been doing and they were taking their year end bonuses and buying one bitcoin with it. And that just told me, "That's it. When this is the kind of speculative frenzy that Navy SEALs coming home from deployment are investing in, there's nobody else to buy that's the peak of the bubble."
So that's why I made my big call. In the case of TLRY, it was almost as funny. I was on my way to the studios at Yahoo Finance to go on their national webcast to talk about TLRY and their overvalued pot stocks – and, by the way, TLRY is a real company... unlike bitcoin, which is inherently speculative and there's no way to calculate its value. TLRY is a real company and has some real assets and it's worth something – its price just got caught up in a speculative bubble. So as I was walking into the building my daughter who is a sophomore at Wake Forest and is taking a class on personal finance called me up and said, "Daddy we're doing this exercise to teach us about the stock market. I have a $20,000 model portfolio not real money thankfully. And I just bought the stock of TLRY because a friend told me, one of my classmates told me about it." And this is the first stock she's ever owned in her life and fortunately she didn't really own it. But again, when the least-sophisticated investor in the United States is piling in to TLRY, you know it's the top of the bubble. And sure enough, that was the day to the hour when my daughter called me.
Dan Ferris: Wow, so I wonder if you could just give her my phone number next time she wants to buy something, or maybe you can just shoot us all an e-mail – my daughter just called. And that will be the next one. You've probably learned though I imagine your kids are very smart and they'll probably learn from that.
Whitney Tilson: Yeah, they're turning 23, 20, and 17. My middle daughter – the one I just mentioned, in fact – is 20 today. In fact, it's her birthday but they are slowly starting to take an interest in what I do and in the financial world and so hopefully that will continue. I love teaching and I find it's sort of ironic that I teach so many other people and I think I do a good job of it and I do an absolutely miserable job of teaching my own children.
Dan Ferris: I was going to ask if any of them are studying finance in school or just showing an interest in the business, but you said they're just starting to show an interest.
Whitney Tilson: Yeah, well, my oldest daughter graduated from college a year ago she's working at Ernst & Young in consulting and studying for the GMATs in other words will be applying to business school probably within a year or so. Maybe as soon as this fall, and who knows, maybe she'll follow in my footsteps to Harvard Business School. I would be proud of that so she's really taking an interest. She was an economics major at Carleton College. And my middle daughter looks like she's going to major in marketing. So there appears to be some budding interests.
Dan Ferris: So you went to Harvard Business. So were you like one of these Warren Buffett guys buying stocks when you were 11 years old, or did the interest in investing come later for you?
Whitney Tilson: You know, I was very late, and it's partly because the household I grew up in – my parents were in the Peace Corps. Met and married in the Peace Corps in 1962. The third couple to do so, according to family lure. So I grew up in a household where my parents never owned a stock in their entire lives. They were just sort of thrifty, frugal teachers and so when I finally did discovery value investing and Warren Buffett, it immediately resonated for me the idea of hunting for bargains and trying to buy dollar bills for $0.50, but it was all through college and then helping start Teach for America a couple years at Boston Consulting Group and then into Harvard Business School I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
I had a very strong interest in business that developed in college, but I had no interest in the stock market so I remember the Wall Street Journal would come and I would throw away the money and the investing section and I would just read the rest of the paper. So Warren Buffett came to speak at Harvard Business School. He no longer visits Business School. This was 25 years ago, but he used to come to Harvard and Columbia every other year I think and so he came to speak on campus at Harvard Business school and I didn't even go listen to him. That's how foolish I was, I didn't even know who he was, so it wasn't until a couple years after business school I had gotten married my wife had a good job as a lawyer and we finally paid off my business-school debt, and I looked one day at my checking account and I had $10,000 in it. We had saved our first $10,000. That was a new experience for me. I thought I was rich.
And so one of my close friends from college was Bill Ackman, the famous billionaire hedge-fund manager and he was one of those kids who grew up in an investing-related household, his multi-generations – father and grandfather were in the New York City real estate business so he was deep into investing and buying stocks at a very young age. So maybe a little bit of that rubbed off on me. So at least I knew who to call once I had my first $10,000 to invest.
And so I called up Bill and I still remember what he said, he said, "Whitney, all you need to do is read everything Warren Buffett has ever written about investing and you can stop there. You don't need to read anything else." And so I started to reading about Buffett. I started reading his annual letters, and I was hooked. And it was the late '90s – stocks were going up, so I started dabbling in stocks and buying a few stock in my account, and honestly I had no idea what I was doing, I was buying based on hot stock tips from a friend but eventually I went out to my first Berkshire meeting and in the mid-to-late '90s and started talking to Bill more frequently and cultivated the right friends and mentors. And really over time, it took a while but over time I became a real value investor and at that point decided to start my own fund on January 1, 1999. Just about 20 years ago.
Dan Ferris: OK, Whitney, so I'm going to fast-forward to now... and to me you're, like, one of the classic investors who has evolved you started out as this fundamental value investor you're still a fundamental investor and I might even still call you a value investor but I notice you don't call yourself that lately. You called yourself a "make-money investor" at the conference you and I attended a couple weeks ago for Stansberry, and that's interesting to me because I think all the good investors go through this transformation.
They start out – a lot of them start out looking at charts and trying to figure out what direction the stock price is going to go in and then eventually they say, "Well, maybe I'll try to figure out what industry to invest in and then that doesn't work out," and then they start learning about the fundamentals of businesses and eventually if they start out in the sort of, what I would say, the traditional – almost dogmatic – world they end up if they're really good where you are. And so tell us – I'm not going to tell everybody – where are you right now in your evolution as an investor?
Whitney Tilson: Yeah, look, I'm still a value investor, but I guess I'm a value investor like you pointed out – someone who has learned and matured and developed and the way I would characterize it is, I did too much of my early career. I define "value investing" as buying stocks trading at low multiples of earnings or revenue or book value depending on the type of stock. And so that was my screen, and I would assemble a group of companies that all had cheap stocks and then I understood, of course, it's important to find good, quality businesses those are more likely to turn around and grow over time, and also I appreciated that but my first screen was valuation. So what I did is took all cheap stocks and then tried to find better businesses among the pool of cheap stocks.
And I had it exactly backwards. I think the way to be a successful long-term investor is you need to screen for good companies and then try to find, then among the pool of good companies, the vast majority of which are going to be widely perceived as good and investors are going to love them and their stock prices are going to reflect the quality of the business and you're probably not going to make much money buying popular, beloved stocks. So the key is, though, to look among the pool of high-quality businesses and find those that have temporarily fallen out of favor due to factors that can be fixed. So that's the hard part.
There are lots of formerly great businesses that are struggling right now, and the question is, "Which ones are encountering temporary difficulties?" Those are the stocks that you want to own that can be fixed and turned around and returned to glory versus those that are in permanent decline. So, you know, a classic – there's so many of these so-called "value traps" of formerly great businesses that just go down and down and down. Kodak declined into bankruptcy when digital imagery and photography and printing came along. A stock like the New York Times Company, newspapers used to be the world's greatest businesses for a century or more – were incredible businesses and the Internet came along and most newspapers and their stocks faded into oblivion.
Now interestingly the New York Times the stock is actually trading at multiyear highs as they have enough of a franchise and a brand name and are starting to monetize digital. But most newspaper companies were – just faded away. But what you want to look for, of course, is one of my best investments of my early career was McDonald's when the stock went from 44 to 12 from 2000 to early 2003 and they were in a price war with Burger King but everyone and that's a fixable problem. Price wars tend to end, but everyone was thinking Americans are going to eat healthier from now on. And they won't eat burgers and fries, which was, of course, complete nonsense.
And the stock is up 15 times since then and I had a heck of a ride – not the entire 15 times, unfortunately, but I had a heck of a ride on that. So that's what I call "make-money investing." I'm looking for companies where earnings are going to grow a lot going forward. Ideally, I can pick them up cheap when the stock is depressed, but you can just buy something like Google today and it's not a depressed stock. Earnings have never crashed it's never been a turnaround situation, but it's got an incredible growth runway, I think, for the next 10 or 20 years. I think earnings are going to be a lot higher in five years, and if I'm right, the stock is going to be at least a double in the next three to five years. So you don't have to do bottom fishing.
Dan Ferris: Right, and you've pointed out some really good optionality in Google, too, haven't you?
Whitney Tilson: Yes, I think three of the most undervalued or mispriced options in the world are embedded in Google. No. 1 is the value of YouTube, which is just an extraordinary platform. It has something like seven to nine times the viewing hours of Netflix, yet this entity is not being valued at very much. Within Google it could be because they're being very cautious in ramping up the advertising and in monetizing it but if Netflix is worth $150 billion YouTube is worth a lot more than that with seven to nine times the viewing hours. A second embedded option is Android, which runs something like 75% of the world's mobile phones.
Google has been giving it away for free. Interestingly, the European regulators are sort of putting pressure on them to start charging for it. If Google charged $5 for every new phone installed with Android that would be more than $5 billion a year of incremental pure profit to Google. And lastly, I think Google's Waymo division of autonomous driving appears as best as I can tell to have a big lead over all its competitors and I think autonomous driving will change the world in many ways.
So analysist are estimating Waymo could be worth $100 billion and up right now if Google were to spin it out. I think if you just look at Google's cash flow from its core search business and advertising business – keep in mind, they have seven products currently that have a billion monthly average users or more. So their core business is just gushing cash and it's trading at a pretty modest multiple of its core business profitability. So I think you're getting these three $100-plus billion options for free.
Dan Ferris: Wow, it makes me want to run out and buy Google.
Whitney Tilson: You could do worse. Interestingly, I think if you told me that I had to buy two stocks 50/50 a portfolio of 50% each of two stocks that I think was most likely to beat the S&P 500 over the next – call it five to 10 years – those two stocks would be Berkshire Hathaway and Google. I don't think either stock I would want to put 100% in. You can't just own Berkshire because what if technology has a big run? And Berkshire could underperform in a tech-focused stock market.
But Google is the opposite, right? So you need to have a balance of both. But I think those two companies are pretty reasonably valued and just have incredible virtuous cycles working, incredible, long runways. And they're both very large – you're not going to, you have to have modest expectations. If you told me pick two stocks where I would outperform the S&P 500 by the greatest margin over the next 10 years I wouldn't pick Google and Berkshire because they're already so large but in terms of the likelihood of doing well and doing a little bit better than an index fund which I think is a very reasonable default option for most people, those two stocks would be my picks.
Dan Ferris: Interesting that Berkshire is one that you think will outperform. What is Buffett saying about the future? I thought he was – he just becomes more and more conservative in his projections over time. And I didn't know if he was still saying that he thinks we'll beat the index.
Whitney Tilson: Yeah, well, he's been cautioning Berkshire shareholders for decades to diminish their expectations that the years of vast outperformance are over and with Berkshire with a $500 million market cap today is that's no doubt a true statement, I think Berkshire will keep up in a bull market and will go down less in a bear market so net-net over five to 10 years I think is a good bet to outperform the S&P by a few percentage points a year. If the S&P does five percentage points a year over the next ten years – compounds of 5% a year – I think Berkshire might do 7% a year not a huge outperformance but that adds up over a 10-year period.
And I think Berkshire is going to start buying back a lot of stock. That's something that Buffett has been very clear about, which I think can be a very nice catalyst. So Buffett is always an under-promise, over-deliver kind of guy. I think that's the right way to invest, it's the right way to live your life. And I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say in just a couple weeks now. Two weeks from Saturday when I'll be attending my 22nd consecutive annual Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting out in Omaha.
Dan Ferris: So, Whitney, last night you had a webinar to launch your new product with Stansberry, and maybe just tell us a little bit about your new product what's it called, what can readers of it expect, and how did things go last night?
Whitney Tilson: Sure. Things went incredibly well, and it's such a treat partnering up with Stansberry to create this new entity called Empire Financial Research, and I have you to thank for connecting me with my old friend Porter and suggesting that we have a conversation last summer which is what led to this. So thank you, Dan.
Dan Ferris: My pleasure.
Whitney Tilson: We're hopefully going to launch a number of newsletters under the Empire Financial Research umbrella, but we launched the first one last night called the Empire Investment Report. It's a monthly newsletter that I and my analysts are writing, and it's our absolute best stock ideas that we're going to be sharing with our subscribers. We launched yesterday with four big-cap stocks that we shared publicly to anyone, whether subscriber or not – anyone who came to the webinar. My big three favorite tech stocks: Alphabet, Facebook, and Amazon as well as Berkshire Hathaway, which I think are four stocks that can provide a nice foundation for a conservative portfolio and then only to our subscribers we revealed in our first issue of the Empire Investment Report a smaller stock that is a little riskier but has a lot more upside and we're going to look to every month now be releasing new stock ideas and building a portfolio over time.
And it will be very similar to what I did for 20 years when I ran my hedge fund, which is do a lot of talking to people, reading, thinking, analysis, and in-depth research to try to come up with one good investment idea a month. And most the time for first couple years it will be a new stock idea to add to the portfolio, but over time we'll have two to three dozen companies that we follow closely and not all of their stocks will be cheap enough to own at any given time. So we will recommend our favorite dozen stocks at any given time that will be our active portfolio.
And just as a little teaser for the first issue for those folks that might be interested in subscribing, it's a stock that I was once short and now I am recommending going long or owning it and this is only the fifth time in my 20-year career that I have ever gone long a stock that I was once short. And the first four were a double and a year, a triple and a year, a five-bagger in two years and a 50-bagger in six years. So when the rare conditions line up for reversing my opinion and going from short to long a stock, my track record has been perfect so far with some pretty extraordinary results, and I'm pretty confident I'll be five-for-five after this one works out. So it's still cheap. It's still available in my inaugural issue.
Dan Ferris: Wow, I can't wait to find out what that is myself. That's really cool. I'm looking forward to reading this and we have a special offer for Stansberry Investor Hour listeners. So you can get one year of Whitney's Empire Investment Report – it's normally $5,000, but for Stansberry Investor Hour listeners it's 40% off today for $3,000. One year for $3,000. Also includes several urgent buy recommendations. And you can get more details at www.WhitneyTilsonEvent.com. WhitneyTilsonEvent.com. Thanks, Whitney, I'm always happy when you can make time for us. And I hope you'll do so again soon.
Whitney Tilson: My pleasure. Thanks for having me, and I look forward to coming back. As you referred to earlier, I'll come back and do a little victory dance on Tesla.
Dan Ferris: I know it may be inevitable but it's not always imminent these things, but I think you're right I think the moment has come. Hopefully we'll be doing that by the end of the year.
Whitney Tilson: All right, thanks again, Dan.
Dan Ferris: You bet. Thank you, Whitney, and we'll talk to you again soon. Bye.
Whitney Tilson: All right bye.
Dan Ferris: Time for the mailbag... Remember, your feedback is important to us here. I read – I personally read every single e-mail that comes in and we respond to, you know, I respond to as many as I can. Obviously, there's too many. I can't respond to all of them, but it's really valuable to us. It's an important part of the show. It's some of the most fun I have all week. And you can write to us at [email protected] Now, last week, our guest Brian Dalton was the founder and CEO of Altius Minerals – a company I've been covering for 10 years in Extreme Value and so we got plenty of questions about Altius.
And I thought I would just devote the whole mailbag to Altius questions today. So No. 1 says, "Hi Dan I enjoyed your interview with Brian Dalton and became interested in Ultrias minerals," It's Altius... A-L-T-I-U-S. It's the Olympic Games motto – it's citius, altius, fortius, it's Latin for "faster, higher, stronger." And Brian choose the middle term higher as the name of the company. Altius Minerals. So this guy says, "I enjoyed your interview and became interested in Altius Minerals Corporation. So I went to look for more information on this royalty company. I found the ticker symbol ATUSF and another ticker symbol ALS.TO along with others listed on different exchanges. If these represent the same company which one should I own and does it even matter?" And he says, "ATUSF has a lower market cap then ALS.TO so assuming Yahoo has them both priced in dollars, does this provide insight into the better value selection. Sorry for such basic questions."
No need to apologize, Ken, because this is an excellent question and this is one of the main things I deal with on Altius. I mean, I've dealt with this month after month for 10 years. So it's a great question, Ken, thank you. The ticker symbol ATUSF is the same exact share as the ticker symbol ALS on the Toronto Stock exchange. One of them is priced in U.S. dollars, ATUSF and has the "US" in there to remind you of that and the other one is priced in Canadian dollars. ALS.TO on Yahoo. And while we're at it, Yahoo will give you a good stock quote and they can tell you the market cap of a company, but it's not the place to get data, folks, it's just not. You need something better just as an aside. So yeah, about these two ticker symbols.
So it really is up to you, but I can tell you this... The ATUSF symbol is a little less liquid then the one on the traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. And it's priced in US dollars. So here's the dynamic. When the US dollar is weaker the ATUSF will tend to perform better than ALS. Now ALS is priced in Canadian dollars so when the Canadian dollar is weaker it will do better than ATUSF. I know it sounds wrong, but I promise you, that's the way it works – generally speaking. Not every minute of every day, but generally speaking. So thank you, Ken B., for that.
No. 2, I almost didn't include this one because it's a little snarky and I did my little thing before where I said we're not going to do rude e-mails. But he didn't get rude, he's just a little snarky, so I let it through and it's a good question. "As you were touting the value of Altius Minerals I was looking at the Yahoo graphs and stats. 1.2% dividend with a payout ratio of 533. Flat price for the last five years. P/E of 439. How could a non-insider like me possibly make any money on this," with four question marks. "So apparently you are saying its book value is rapidly appreciating but how does that translate to money in my pocket ever. Martin J. "
A couple of things here, Martin J, first of all Yahoo sucks for stats and things – that's the first problem. But these stats are probably accurately portrayed they're just meaningless. The payout ratio on Yahoo is meaningless. The P/E ratio on Yahoo is meaningless and it's probably accurate, but it's the ratio of the current price to the current reported gap earnings. And what did I say in today's rant? All these basic numbers? This is where analysis begins, not where it ends. If you think the P/E ratio of any company anywhere tells you a lot or enough of anything you are wrong. Period. I stopped looking at P/E ratio a while ago. I can't help it because everywhere I go it's in my face, but I learned to ignore it because it just doesn't matter.
What matters is the intrinsic value of the business, and I keep track of the intrinsic value of Altius probably as well as anyone on earth. And I've got just shy of $18 all day long with the stock around $12 or $13 lately. And you read my newsletter – and I will make the case for it. I'm not going to do it here, but yeah. So you need to do a lot more work then just looking at all these headline numbers on yahoo and the stock is definitely undervalued like nobody who knows the royalty industry will tell you otherwise.
And that's all there is to it. There's another question in the same vein by Peter G. he said, "I enjoyed your interview with the gentlemen from Altius and it seems like the P/E ratio is 400 and the future P/E is 44. Am I missing something here?" And I would say, "Yeah I think you are." Those numbers aren't meaningful, ignore them and do some real work on the company or just read my stuff. No. 3 is also about Altius this is our last one, "So good morning Dan, I finished listening to the Altius Minerals show this morning on the way to work. That was excellent and certainly one I will listen to again this weekend. Brian was droll but fascinating, kind of like you." Oh, thanks. "But what a story and a very compelling sales pitch. I'm going to investigate adding ATUSF to my portfolio, but I'm hoping you can answer a few quick questions for me. I'm not familiar with the royalty concept and don't understand the investment return process.
"Altius takes royalty payments and dividends in the companies they have invested in and then what? They pay them out to shareholders in the form of royalty payments, dividends, are the dividends separate from the royalty payments and maybe in addition to with a gross revenue of $67 million and $43 million shares outstanding that amounts to about $1.50 per share in round about terms? I'm fairly sure that not all the revenue passes through. Perhaps next week you could give us a primer on how this works and a dividend of only, you said $0.12 a year." It's actually, $0.16 a year. "That produces a pretty measly yield. So I hope there's something besides yield forming the basis of the return." A couple of things... first of all, I believe this dividend is going to continue to grow the way it has grown in the past which to date is just shy of 18% per year. And the way you assess dividend yield... if you think you're going to get growth is – you add the yield to the growth. Do not write me a million e-mails and say this is wrong.
I've had these e-mails before. This is just a standard basic rule-of-thumb, back-of-the envelope, dividend model, it is true, it is correct. OK, add the yield to what you think the growth is going to be and that's the kind of return you can expect. So 1.2%-plus, about – as I recall – about 17.8% is about 20% and I think you are going to make 20% a year over the next five to 10 years on Altius. I think you're going to make better than that. I think you're going to get a five-, 10-bagger out of this thing over the next decade. So to answer your question, look... You asked a lot of questions in there, but it's real simple. They own royalties and they own one royalty stock – the Labrador Iron Ore Royalty Corporation shares, so that pays them dividends. But all that dividend comes out of royalties on the IOC mines up there in Labrador like we were talking about on the show.
So yeah, they get the royalty payments from the royalties they own and then they get the dividend payments from the Labrador and they pay that out in dividends, period. Now, of course, they don't pay all of it out, but they're growing in the amount that they pay out. They do other things with it. They invest it. They pay down debt. These guys are very conservative about debt so they like to use some of this money to pay down their debt. I think they could wind up with zero debt over the next several years depending on what new investments they're able to make.
So I hope that answers your question. It's real simple. Royalties and dividends in, dividend payments out, and they do other things with that money and over time – I think – over time I think the yield over your cost if you're buying the stock today – I think you are going to be getting a very fat yield over your cost. Five-plus years out from now, but good question. All good questions on Altius. And I'm thrilled about the company. I hope we gave you the impression that there are some issues, but they're all pretty much solved. So the business is firing on all cylinders and the one guy asked about the stock going sideways for five years. If that means something to you, I can't help you. What means something to me is the business the value proposition.
The thing's gushing cash flow and it's cheap. And the management is the No. 1 royal company management on the face of the earth. So that's all good and what happened to the stock price in the past doesn't mean a whole lot to me. All right. So that concludes another episode of the Stansberry Investor Hour. Thank you for joining us again. You can check out all our episodes on the recently revamped website. And you can see show transcripts you can add to your e-mail to make sure you get all the updates on the show. Just go to www.InvestorHour.com. That's it this week. Thank you once again, and I look forward to talking to you again next week.
Announcer: Thank you for listening to the Stansberry Investor Hour. To access today's notes and receive notice of upcoming episodes, go to InvestorHour.com and enter your e-mail. Have a question for Dan? Send him an e-mail at [email protected] This broadcast is provided for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered personalized investment advice. Trading stocks and all other financial instruments involves risk. You should not make any investment decisions based solely on what you hear. Stansberry Investor Hour is produced by Stansberry Research and is copywriter by the Stansberry Radio Network.
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