Navellier’s “The Google of 2008”

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, February 6, 2008

So … another stock that’s going to be the “next Google!” Man, how can we go wrong with that?

Let me count the ways … just in the last six months or so, Navellier’s next Google was IncrediMail, and Tobin Smith’s was Synchronoss … not so good for either one just yet. And many other newsletter editors (or their advertising copywriters) made that “next Google” claim, too, it’s almost as tempting as making the “next Berkshire Hathaway” claim.

So, regardless of how true such a claim can ever be, let’s give this one a look-see.

Navellier’s latest teaser email tells us that we need to invest in “clock builders,” the people who develop and bring innovative products to market to change the way consumers think and buy.

In his words, “The big winners of 2008, as of every year since I launched Emerging Growth in 1980, will exhibit what you might call The Dyson Effect.”

That’s a reference to James Dyson, the grating (to me, at least) English inventor who brought us the remarkably heavy, colorful, and, apparently, effective space-age Dyson vacuum cleaners.

“Clock builders set the pace. They know they’re only as good as their last idea. They keep the earnings pedal to the metal, eating, sleeping, dreaming of the next breakthrough.”

Here’s Navellier’s assessment of the founder of the company he’s teasing here:

“The owner named his company after himself for the very good reason that his is the self-proclaimed Messiah of ‘Hi-Definition Sound.’ It’s his life-work, his obsession—and his 91% ownership of a class of voting stock makes it clear: this company IS the founder. In short, we’ve found Jobs in 1982, we’ve found Google’s Brin in 1998, gosh we’ve found Michael Dell in 1990.”

Leaving aside how disturbing it is that he apparently had to proclaim himself the Messiah (how sad!), I think we’ve got most of what we need in that paragraph … but there are a few more clues:

950 patents and 850 trademarks.
“Earnings up 77%—a 56% earnings surprise.”
Sales growth of 26%.
“Guidance: Up to $600 million in sales in 2008, from $482 million in 2007.”

So … figured this one out yet? The mighty Gumshoe Thinkolator has been humming along in the background, and I can tell you with certainty that this teased “next Google” is …

Dolby Laboratories (DLB)

Sound familiar? That’s right, this has been a favorite stock of the Motley Fool recently, too, they’ve been selling it as the “next Intel” in their Stock Adviser newsletter ads.

The clues match up and Navellier is accurate in painting the best case scenario, at least, for this one. Dolby is controlled by its founder (that “Messiah”, Ray Dolby), who owns super voting shares, so he can do pretty much whatever he wants with the company — which can be either good or bad. That’s part of why Tom Gardner likes this one, too, I assume, since he has a serious fondness for founder CEOs and heavy insider ownership (with good reason, in most cases).

And the company is quite expensive, in my book — it is growing, which is what Navellier primarily cares about, but if the analysts are at all correct it’s also fully priced to incorporate that growth rate. The PEG ratio is right around 2, which is the maximum that many folks will pay for a growth company (Google, by contrast, is at .71, and Intel is at .88). So if you buy this one you’re really counting on significant growth levels that outpace what analysts are currently predicting. Morningstar’s analyst pegs it at a fair value of $27, so this is one case where Morningstar and the Motley Fool are not on the same page (the current share price is right around $47, the price Navellier says to “buy under”).

How does Dolby make money? For the most part, they collect royalties on all the devices that are sold with their hi-definition sound technology. In the past ten years or so, most of those royalties have come from DVD players, and the reason some folks are skeptical of Dolby is that a fair amount is riding on their ability to get their technology adopted as the standard for all the new high-definition DVD players (they are not the only company in this space, though they are leading and competitors are few) … and on consumers’ interest in buying those players en masse.

They also sell into high end audio markets, and into the theater and filmmaking businesses, but the way I read it their future growth — and whether they can blow out those analyst numbers in the future — depends on a big push into consumer electronics, including MP3 players, cars audio, gaming consoles, and those aforementioned HD DVDs and home theaters. They’ve also got to continue innovating, since they do rely pretty heavily on patents … and some of their patents are getting pretty long in the tooth and are near expiration (I don’t know if they’re the most important patents or not).

Will they make it? It’s your money, so that’s your call — personally, it’s too rich for my blood at these prices, but there’s something to be said for standing up and taking notice when both Tom Gardner and Louis Navellier are heavily touting the same stock … they have both proven that their long term stock-picking records put them in the upper echelon. On average. And you’ve got a leading value guy and a leading growth guy both seeing the same rosy future for the same stock — that should probably either make you get interested, or scare you to death.

So whaddya think? Cranking up the Dolby in quadrophonic stereo, or turning it down?


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11 Comments on "Navellier’s “The Google of 2008”"

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G IMBURG
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G IMBURG
February 6, 2008 10:02 pm

Interesting stock. The demand,or future demand part of the equation seems to be the primary risk. Hard to evaluate without looking at future contractual business,and determining public acceptance of their product.

DLS
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DLS
February 7, 2008 10:15 am

I sleuthed that one (easy even for a beginner like me) a couple of weeks ago and bought it–it’s now up 13% due maybe just due to the Nav pumping, so perhaps time to sell it. It’s one of the few bright-ish lights in the wreckage of my portfolio right now.

Blurpie
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Blurpie
February 7, 2008 10:19 am

Well, DLB sure hit their numbers last week! Technicals have been improving nicely as well over the past week.

Gravity Switch
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February 7, 2008 12:48 pm

Good point Blurpie — they’re priced for growth, and so far they’re delivering. I’m concerned and would tend to be cautious here, but primarily because I think there’s more uncertainty in their marketplace than the stock price reflects … so far, I’m wrong.

Brian B.
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Brian B.
February 7, 2008 12:57 pm

The motley fool picked this several months ago. It’s up in a down market, so that’s something. I’m cautious and what group or sector would DLB be in?

Gravity Switch
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February 7, 2008 2:21 pm

I’d have to consider it to be a mashup between consumer electronics makers and semiconductors, at least as far as the drivers of their business go, but I don’t know how they’re technically classified by different raters. The only really direct competitor that’s focused solely on this business and that is public is DTSI, and they are much, much smaller. Be careful about comparing them to sectors or industries (it’s hard to compare royalty companies to manufacturers, for example).

Tom E
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Tom E
February 8, 2008 12:04 am

I need your input on MARL the stock robot. It was featured as one of your sponsors. I paid $87.00 for the program and it picks pennny stocks based on some technicals; however, it behaves contrary to the users guide and picks stock symbols that don’t exits. I have written to their help desk but all I get is dumb responses. Can you please look into this. thanks Tom

esquire415
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esquire415
February 11, 2008 1:08 pm

Well, it’s up 5% since Feb 6 ($46.93). Now trading at $49.46

I wish I saw it when it was trading between $40-$42 and sell today for a nice profit.

How does it compare to DTSI? It looks like the Motley Fool community doesn’t think much about that other company.

Gravity Switch
Admin
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February 11, 2008 1:17 pm
It’s true, but I’d be careful about the Motley Fool “community” when it deals with a stock that is recommended in one of their newsletters — if you look at any stock that’s an active recommendation of theirs in their CAPS system, you’ll almost always see an overwhelming 90-10 bullish sentiment, at least. The heavy participants in their community are also the most likely to be subscribers, and they’re most likely to agree with the recommendations made. Not that they’re wrong, just that in my experience they tend to be one-sided when it comes to stocks picked by Fool newsletters.
Mike help with teaser please!
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Mike help with teaser please!
April 20, 2008 9:28 am

Too rich …. better plays out there . FYI – I have been killing it on this stock…SOL

Bigg Fredd
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Bigg Fredd
October 14, 2010 2:14 am

Someone decompiled the "robot" and said it was a list of stock names and picked one at random to "reccommend".

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