The famed mutual fund supervisor Peter Lynch didn’t like to buy shares that experienced a higher stage of institutional expenditure, even while he was an institutional trader himself. The purpose? Their rates would be way too sluggish-relocating to give him the styles of huge returns he chased (generally productively).

What, then, are we to believe of J2 World-wide Inc. (NASDAQ:JCOM), a tech organization with ninety one{e0233a5a8ca3dab8ed448c5451aba2c38c77d167988a5d203483ecea09d61312} institutional possession, not to point out another three.55{e0233a5a8ca3dab8ed448c5451aba2c38c77d167988a5d203483ecea09d61312} of insider possession.

Inspite of the large institutional possession, J2 shares have risen practically 5-fold about the previous 10 a long time:

GuruFocus J2 stock price chart

J2 is also a Buffett-Munger Screener stock, a person of just 18 on the checklist, as of June 9. These are regarded as higher-high quality shares at good price or undervalued rates.

The organization commenced as an on the net faxing service in 1995, but has because expanded its checklist of net expert services and changed its title to J2 World-wide. It has two primary traces of small business, according to its 10-K for 2019:

  • Cloud Expert services, which supplies “cloud-based membership expert services to buyers and corporations and license our intellectual assets (‘IP’) to 3rd get-togethers. In addition, the Cloud Expert services small business involves fax, safety, privateness, data backup, e mail advertising and voice goods.”
  • Digital Media, which “specializes in the technology, gaming, broadband, small business to small business, health care, and intercontinental markets, supplying material, resources and expert services to buyers and corporations.”

Earnings from Cloud Expert services is rather stable, though revenue from Digital Media is growing. All those dynamics have pushed down its functioning margins.

The organization cites two causes: Very first, Digital Media is growing more quickly than Cloud Expert services, but its functioning margins are narrower, that means that consolidated functioning margins will continue to shrink.

Second, and as J2 described in its 10-K, “the trend in promoting expend is shifting to mobile equipment and other more recent promoting formats which typically working experience lower margins than those people from desktop computer systems and tablets. We assume this trend to continue to set stress on our margins.”

Inspite of the shrinkage, margins remain respectable, for now at minimum:

  • Functioning margin: twenty.04{e0233a5a8ca3dab8ed448c5451aba2c38c77d167988a5d203483ecea09d61312}
  • Web margin: 12.81{e0233a5a8ca3dab8ed448c5451aba2c38c77d167988a5d203483ecea09d61312}


As we’ve observed, J2 is a Buffett-Munger Screener stock, and we can evaluate the stock utilizing the screener’s four criteria: a higher predictability score, a aggressive benefit, small or no financial debt and an undervalued PEG ratio.


J2 has a 5 out of 5 rating, the leading for predictability, for continuously growing its revenue and its earnings. Below is its history about the previous 10 a long time:

GuruFocus J2 revenue and earnings per share chart

Competitive benefit

Just one of its aggressive rewards, or moats, is its proprietary technology and intellectual assets. In addition, it has made or obtained a substantial stable of model names, together with these demonstrated in an trader presentation from final month:

J2 brands

Quantitatively, a median return of at minimum 15{e0233a5a8ca3dab8ed448c5451aba2c38c77d167988a5d203483ecea09d61312} for each yr about the previous decade, on return on capital and return on tangible fairness, is the aggressive benefit hurdle in the Macpherson design:

  • ROC: In the early portion of the previous decade, J2 experienced an excellent ROC document, as higher as 50{e0233a5a8ca3dab8ed448c5451aba2c38c77d167988a5d203483ecea09d61312}. But as the decade progressed, ROC declined to the higher one digits prior to rebounding a little bit. In 2019, the return on capital was 11.21{e0233a5a8ca3dab8ed448c5451aba2c38c77d167988a5d203483ecea09d61312}.
  • ROTE: Like numerous of its competition, together with RingCentral (NYSE:RNG), it has no meaningful return on tangible fairness data.

Credit card debt

The pursuing 10-yr chart exhibits how J2 piled on the debt—and grew its earnings for each share proportionately:

GuruFocus J2 long term debt and earnings per share

While the earnings for each share quantities have amplified, the organization cannot be cozy with this stage of financial debt. Take into consideration a couple of metrics in the financial toughness table:

GuruFocus J2 financial strength

Fascination protection is considerably less that five, the stage Benjamin Graham set as his bare minimum for organizations with financial debt.

The Altman Z-Rating is bordering on the Distress spot and turning to the distribute between the return on invested capital and the weighted common price tag of capital, the difference is just five{e0233a5a8ca3dab8ed448c5451aba2c38c77d167988a5d203483ecea09d61312}. Blend that with shrinking margins, and it is not an encouraging indicator.


The PEG ratio, the primary valuation device for Buffett-Munger Screener shares, is higher, but not as higher as it has been in new a long time:

GuruFocus J2 PEG ratio

At one.56, the PEG ratio is higher a ratio of considerably less than one. is regarded as undervalued, though something previously mentioned one. is regarded as overvalued.

Searching at other steps of valuation, the price-earnings ratio is 22.52, down from the small-to-mid 30s, and similar with its friends.

From the discounted funds stream calculator, we get a good or intrinsic price of $44.90, substantially lower than the recent price of $81.08. That usually means the organization has a negative margin of security.

Reviewing all four criteria, there is small that is persuasive in J2’s profile. Indeed, it has presented predictable outcomes, but at the similar time, it has a slim moat, a financial debt load and a PEG ratio that is rather higher. Its only claim to valuation toughness is that the pandemic and economic crises have lowered its share price down below new highs. But there may perhaps be an vital piece of its technique we must also take into consideration.


J2 has obtained extra than 100 organizations because adopting a technique of expansion by acquisitions in 2000.

However, it has a technique in just a technique. It pursues “programmatic acquisitions,” which must deliver an outsized raise in returns. This slide from the trader presentation exhibits the diploma of outperformance:

GuruFocus J2 aquisistions

Programmatic acquisitions? A McKinsey & Co. posting spelled out: “Nearly a decade back, we set out to respond to a crucial management question: What form of M&A technique generates the most price for substantial companies? We crunched the quantities, and the respond to was obvious: go after numerous compact discounts that accrue to a meaningful sum of market place capitalization about various a long time rather of relying on episodic, ‘big-bang’ transactions.”

Acquisitions could brighten the potential, but at the similar time it’s vital to recognize that new streams of revenue and earnings may perhaps be required just to make up for shrinking margins.


J2 World-wide is a Buffett-Munger Screener organization, but not a specially robust a person from a price investor’s perspective.

It has extra than what I would simply call “no or small debt” and the share price, while lower than it has been in the new previous, supplies no margin of security. Continue to, for some traders, together with those people wanting for a good organization to buy and hold for 5 a long time or extra, J2 has the possible to deliver satisfactory outcomes.

As for institutional traders, I suspect most of them would tumble into the latter group. For them, sluggish and continual beats the Lynch solution of pursuing multi-bagger wins.

Disclosure: I do not personal shares in any organizations named in this posting and do not assume to buy any in the future seventy two several hours.

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About the writer:

Robert Abbott

Robert F. Abbott has been investing his family’s accounts because 1995 and in 2010 included options — largely lined phone calls and collars with prolonged shares.

He is a freelance author, and his assignments include a internet site that supplies information for new and intermediate-stage mutual fund traders (

As a author and publisher, Abbott also explores how the center class has appear to personal significant small business by pension funds and mutual funds, what management expert Peter Drucker named the “unseen revolution.”

Pay a visit to Robert Abbott’s Site