Yang Gao ’16 pitched Expedia Inc. (EXPE) to the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) on February 3, 2016. Expedia is the second largest online travel service provider in the world, in terms of booking volumes. It operates a variety of online travel portals which offer its customers diversified services depending on market demand. Expedia drives its business by either acting as a travel agent and charging a commission for every transaction or by acting as a merchant and purchasing the travel inventory (plane tickets and hotel rooms) from travel providers in bulk at discounted prices and selling back to customers at a premium. Yang expressed optimism in consumer discretionary spending and stressed the company’s diversified business model as a catalyst for driving growth. The class responded cautiously and were weary of entering a new consumer discretionary sub-sector in the midst of high market volatility and the emergence of the Zika virus. In the end, the pitch missed passing by a single vote and we will look to evaluate new positions moving forward.
David Granson ’93 joined the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) for a special lunch on February 2, 2016. Granson is currently a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs in their Investment Management Division. He advises endowments, pension plan sponsors and other tax exempt entities as well as wealthy family groups and private companies on comprehensive wealth management strategies. Granson joined Goldman in 1997 as a Summer Associate in the Equities Division and was named Managing Director in 2012. Prior to joining the firm, David was a senior Investment Analyst at SEI investments, responsible for ultra-high net worth and non-profit clients with $10 billion in assets. David graduated from Bucknell with a BA in political science and history and also holds an MBA from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. During our time with David, we discussed the macroeconomic environment as well as the current headwinds facing energy and recent stock volatility.
Yvonne Jeng ’16 pitched Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) to the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) on January 27, 2016. Alexion is a biotechnology company that is focused on the research, development, and commercialization of antibody therapeutics for life-threatening, ultra-rare diseases. The company’s mission is to develop life-transforming therapies for patients with rare diseases and deliver medical breakthroughs where none currently exist. Three drugs lead Alexion’s rare disease-focused pipeline: Soliris, Strensiq, and Kanuma. Most notable is Soliris, the company’s billion-dollar blockbuster. Alexion has over 20 drug candidates in its pipeline, which spans several therapeutic areas. Many of them have the potential to become first-in-class therapies for patients with severe and life-threatening disorders. Alexion has experienced exceptional revenue growth throughout the past few years. The company’s future will reside in the orphan drug market, a rapidly growing but incredibly risky market.
Amanda Beare ’16 pitched The Home Depot (HD) to the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) on January 20, 2016. Two seasoned retailing executives, Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, founded Home Depot in 1978, along with the help of investment banker and Bucknell University alumnus Kenneth Langone ’57. Home Depot and its subsidiaries operate full-service, warehouse-style stores that average approximately 104,000 sq. ft. of indoor space, and an additional 24,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space for gardening needs. The company offers over 30,000 different types of building materials, home improvement supplies, and garden and lawn products for professional customers, do-it-yourself customers, and do-it-for-me customers. Home Depot differentiates its business from others by striving to achieve superior customer service, product authority, disciplined capital allocation, heightened productivity and efficiency, and a greater interconnected. The class voted to buy Home Depot.
Will Stockwell ’16 pitched Facebook (FB) to the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) on December 2, 2015. Founded in 2004, FB’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. With over one billion active users worldwide, FB has an enormous global influence. The company focuses on creating value for people, marketers, and developers. FB’s products currently consist of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. Numerous opportunities for growth will allow FB to continue to be sustainable. Instagram and WhatsApp have yet to be monetized, and the company recently announced the acquisition of Oculus Rift, a virtual reality platform that has yet to be implemented. The majority of revenue is generated from advertisements, and FB has 2.5 million advertising partners. FB released exceptional financial results for the third quarter of 2015, with a 41 percent increase in revenue. The class voted to buy 392 shares of FB.
Bobby Le Blanc ’88 joined the SMIF class for lunch on November 19, 2015. Le Blanc is currently a Senior Managing Director at Onex Corporation, a private equity firm. Since joining Onex, Le Blanc has led all of the company’s acquisitions within the Healthcare and Financial Services sectors. He focuses on the Media, Technology, Telecom, and Real Estate industries as well. He has been with the company since 1999. Prior to joining Onex, Le Blanc has worked at Berkshire Hathaway and General Electric. He also serves on the Board of Directors of many different organizations, including ResCare, Carestream Health, and First Berkshire Hathaway Life. Le Blanc holds an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business.
Tim Howard ’16 pitched Brunswick Corporation (BC) to the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) on November 19, 2015. BC is a global designer, manufacturer, and marketer of recreational Marine and Fitness products. The company’s product portfolio consists of leading brands that have been increasing their market share. Its product offerings are diversified through three key segments: Engines, Boats, and Fitness. One big differentiating factor about BC is that it is the only company to be a leader across both the Marine market and Fitness industry. The company has experienced a gradual but perceptible recovery since the financial crisis in 2008. Revenue has continued to increase since 2012, and BC exceeded analyst expectations eight times within the past nine quarters. Additionally, ever since the company divested its Bowling business in 2014, it has boosted their cash and given them the ability to pursue other acquisitions. The class voted to purchase 600 shares of BC.
Dimitri Drone ’90 joined the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) for lunch on November 17, 2015. He is currently a Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and leads PwC’s Deals business for the Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences sector. Dimitri advises corporate and private equity clients on the structure of M&A transactions, and he is also a leading advisor on valuation principles within the life sciences industries, which includes pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical devices companies, among many others. Dimitri has been with PwC his entire career. He has his CPA and CFA certifications, and he received his MBA from the University of Chicago. He presented an overview of the biotechnology industry and talked about valuation methods for biotechnology companies.