Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Thryv Warrants and Thryv Stock- A Value Creating Positive Feedback Loop

Please reference the Thryv post on RagnarIsAPirate, which can somewhat catch you up on the situation at my favorite company. Also, a notable update is the Sensis acquisition, and debt refinance... Thryv has been busy!

Sure, THRY has had a slight lag in growth, but that is reaccelerating, and the company is projecting that it will have over 200,000 subscribers to its SaaS business in the medium term (from here). That represents a more than 400% growth in SaaS subscribers in the coming years!

And while that is a HUGE deal... I want to talk about something else- Thryv Warrants and what they mean for the common stock. Because these warrants exist, I believe the company will be able to pay off its debt much sooner than is presently appreciated by the market. While there is not a ready market for the warrants, I have been actively buying them in private transactions. Yes, this post is technically about the warrants, but try not to focus on them as the overarching theme of this post. I am long shares of THRY, and think that these warrants give the stock some compelling upside AND downside protection.  In fact, I think that the presence of the warrants give the stock some “icing on the cake” so to speak. πŸŽ‚πŸ°πŸ§


As you can see below in the company's S1 filing, Thryv has roughly 10.6 million warrants outstanding, which will convert to ~5.8 million shares of common stock. Currently, there are a hair more than 31 million shares outstanding, per the company's most recent 10Q. Normally, seeing that a company is facing dilution of ~18% from warrants is reason for pause. Let me explain why it is not.

Thryv’s legacy business (the Yellow Pages) is a melting iceberg, and is loaded up with debt. It seems that people who are not comfortable with the company's financials always gravitate to the debt load. The risk of the company not being conservative enough in correctly projecting the revenue decline of the Yellow Pages business is simply too much for them. As this relates to the warrants, I think that the dilution and concurrent cash infusion into the company effectively eliminates the risk of the debt blowing up the company, and will actually help the company make more acquisitions, as well as fund growth. Here is why.

The warrants, if exercised, will bring in A LOT of money into the coffers of the company. The math here is simple... If the stock trades for more than $24.39 between now, and August 15th, 2023 (2.5 years out!) and all of the 5.8 million warrants get exercised, that will bring in, in excess of $141 million dollars to the company coffers. Put another way, that is ~1/5 of the total debt that the company currently has. 

Per a recent Bloomberg release, related to THRY’s debt offering, the company is in the process of raising $700 million in debt. The goal is to refinance their current debt and to fund the acquisition of Sensis. It seems that the deal has been priced (again, per a Bloomberg news story), and is ready to go... Sure, the interest rate for the debt is high, but the company is cash flowing more than enough to cover the debt and principle payments. Additionally, this lets the company get a REALLY compelling deal done, as I will highlight below. Just think what the company could do, if these warrants exercise, and they use the cash to pay off debt! $100 million in cash would save the company $8.5mm a year in interest- and the next year, $9.22mm- and the next year, another $10mm... that’s pretty compelling, on top of paying down principle!

Aside from the savings on their debt- the BIG idea here, is that Sensis is a business that will help Thryv recruit paying customers to its SaaS business. The company has stated that when they began rolling out Thryv software to its Yellow Page customers, they had roughly 10% of them sign up for the SaaS offering. Sensis has about 130K customers, so, that would indicate roughly 13,000 new SaaS customers. Frankly, I would be all about them doing the acquisition JUST for the customers.

It’s a bold statement to make, but I do so, because this is a very interesting customer acquisition strategy- not only do they have experience doing this sort of customer conversion, but, they can bring value to a Yellow Pages style business that almost no one else can because of the Saas business they offer. Hypothetically, lets say that you assign no value to the cash flows of Sensis (hint- there will be cash flows), and allocate 100% of the $195mm purchase price to the 13,000 Thryv SaaS customers that the company hopes to gain. That’s ~$15,000 per user. The average Thryv user spends about $293/month or $3,500 annually- meaning that the acquisition cost per customer under some pretty conservative assumptions (ie they don’t grow their ARPU via ThryvPay or other offerings) is ~4.2x revenue. Thryv seems to be (per its presentations) at the critical mass where incremental increases in revenue have a huge impact to earnings and cash flow- so this acquisition has the potential to really bulk up the company. After all- another 13,000 customers would grow the current customer count by nearly 30%!

Keep in mind, this is happening in an environment when SaaS businesses trade for double digit multiples of revenue... And, I will admit that Sensis probably has fewer customers now, than it did last year from the melting iceberg effect- but the math still roughly works for whatever level of conversion and customers you want to assign. 

Because of the company being able to do deals like this, and provide value in ways that others cannot- I believe that Thryv will at some point make a play for other Yellow Pages companies. Specifically, I think that they will make a play for Yellow Pages Canada once Y.TO pays off the remainder of their debt in the coming months. Yellow Pages Canada has already begun declaring dividends- which seems to be a way of prepping the company for a sale this coming summer or fall. 

One last thing: let's take a minute to look at the incentives of the company, via a screen shot below of the recently repriced executive stock options. I have talked about the repricing of the executive stock options before, so, I will not get into the logic of the reprice in this write up.

You will note, that the warrants conveniently expire 6 months after the first set of executive stock options expire, and 6 months before the next set, for the company's CFO. the net value of the stock options, at the exercise price of the warrants, is $10.57/share, and when you multiply that by the ~37,000 shares he is entitled to buy in that first swing, that's a total of $391K... And the more the stock goes up in that time, the better the warrants will do, and the better the stock options will do. 

Furthermore, if you look at the options that are expiring in the year surrounding the warrant expiration, the amount of exposure for the executives DOUBLES... For the CFO, that means that there is over $782K on the line...

It gets even more interesting for the company's CEO, Joe Walsh:

His more than 1.1 million stock options start to expire in monthly installments, as of January 1, 2021... Meaning that for ~87.5% of his options, they all expire BEFORE the end of the warrant exercise date. 

Here is a link to a spreadsheet highlighting the option setup for the executive team, as well as a screen shot.

If exercised at the price of warrant exercise, the total value for all executive stock options is ~$17 million dollars, and the value of the options expiring just in the year of warrant expiration is $5.67 million... If the price of the stock goes up to $30 (just $7 more than the current price) this would ensure that the warrants get exercised, the company gets infused $141 million to play with (pay down high interest debt), and the executives would make over $26 million dollars. 

So as to say... the incentives seem VERY interesting here, and in my mind, kind of acts to weight the scales to more money to be coming into the company because of the various incentives surrounding the warrants. This should significantly mitigate any risks that the company has with declining revenues and debt, which eliminates risk. It will also give the company some firepower to potentially acquire the Yellow Pages in Canada (Y.TO) to further get customers and grow the SaaS business. Furthermore, the company seems to have a decent shot of getting included in the Russell Indexes at some point as Dex Media had been in the past. This would create demand for the stock that would also help the price rise due to what is in essence, forced buying. This is awesome as it relates to the exercise of the warrants, and thus the overall strategy of the company to grow and deleverage.

Oh... and one last thing that just came out in the most recent earnings guidance from the company. They have released a large amount of the valuation allowance for the company's tax asset. Generally, a company cannot do this without some really compelling reasoning. In fact, there are a lot of scenarios where they wouldn't WANT to do this. Can you imagine the auditors' scrutiny that this would have had to go through? The company was at one point bankrupt in the past 5 or so years, has a side of the business with declining revenue, and a credit rating that gives them junk bond status.... Yet, the company’s auditor is comfortable enough to let them release over $100mm in tax valuation allowances. If this doesn’t scream “Thryv is earning money and that shouldn’t stop anytime soon” I don’t know what does.

I believe that individually, some of the items I bring up may not mean much... BUT, when combined, and looked at in their totality, these points should act to propel the stock price significantly higher. Because of this, it is my belief that these cumulative factors have created the setup of a reflexive virtuous cycle that will richly reward the executives, shareholders, and customers of the company.

Now, if the company can just get these warrants to trade- that would be amazing... This way, arbitrage funds can come in, buy the warrants at a slight discount, and exercise them. This would bring money into the company sooner, rather than later...

Disclosure: Long THRY and THRY Warrants.

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