Cost Reduction Paves Way for Turnaround

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Published 10-JUL-2019 00:00 A.M.

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6 minute read

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Overview: Crowd Media Holdings Limited ("Crowd Media", "the Company") is an Australian technology company focused on mobile software and digital marketing services. The Company is focused on two principal divisions: the Mobile division consisting of a Questions and Answer Platform ("Q&A") and a Subscription service ("Subscription") and a Digital Marketing division focused on social media and influences marketing. The Company operates in over 60 countries supported by 30 languages and has worked with over 10,000 digital influencers to date. Wise-owl's most recent update was issued in November 2018 and was titled "Low Market Cap Deserves Attention".

Catalysts: Crowd Media has made significant progress since the beginning of the year, investing in growth opportunities and reducing its cost base, resulting in a leaner business with increased operational leverage. The recently completed debt refinance provides the company with financial flexibility while a strategic review will deliver approximately $3.5 million in annualised cost savings. As the Company's funding position improves, attention will now turn back to top-line growth and a return to profitability. Successful execution of its refined sales and marketing strategy is a major catalyst for a company valued at just 0.2x revenues.

Hurdles: Following a period of operational volatility and industry headwinds there is no guarantee against further erosion of its earnings base amid mixed performance across its key operations. While the debt restructure provides financial flexibility, Crowd Media's balance sheet remains a risk, in particular if operational targets are not achieved. Early signs of the Company’s Digital Marketing division are promising but there is no guarantee that ongoing growth can be achieved as the Company may be subject to increasing competition.

Investment View: Crowd Media offers exposure to the growing market for social media and influencer marketing and has achieved a number of key milestones since the beginning of the year. We see the potential for the combined business to return to growth and profitability following a two-year period of operational challenges. However, success is not guaranteed as a number of key outcomes need to be delivered over the coming 6-12 month period. The recently initiated strategic review will deliver significant cost savings and transforms Crowd Media into a leaner company with improved operational leverage. With an undemanding valuation of 0.2x FY19 revenues, successful delivery of the refined sales and marketing strategy has the potential to trigger a re-rating of the stock. Wise-owl will continue to monitor the stock for its turnaround potential and we will keep members informed about the progress of the Company.

COMPANY OVERVIEW

Crowd Media is an Australian technology company focused on mobile software and digital marketing services.

Following a period of transition, Crowd Media – formerly Crowd Mobile – has undertaken a strategic review and realigned the strategic focus of the company aimed at maximising value and exploiting growth opportunities. During the past 12 months, the Company shifted its focus towards the social media and influencer marketing industry and changed its name to reflect this transition.

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Will Crowd Media return to profitability?

Crowd Media is principally focused on:

  • the Mobile division with a portfolio of trademarked software applications ("apps") and messaging services for mobile devices, orientated toward the delivery of consumer advice;
  • the Digital Marketing division focused on the delivery of branded content for companies and digital influencers

The Mobile division operates in over 60 countries and 30 languages and the Digital Marketing division has worked with over 10,000 influencers globally.

STRATEGIC REVIEW & OUTLOOK

Historically, Crowd Media has delivered earnings and top-line growth but industry headwinds and operational challenges have prompted management to invest in new avenues and initiate a strategic review in mid-April with the overall objective to return the business to profitability.

The Company has invested heavily in new revenue opportunities and recently announced significant cost-cutting measures, which are expected to result in annualised cost savings of $3.5 million. As a result of these initiatives, management forecasts a return to positive EBITDA and operating cash flow from H1 FY20.

Figure 1: Early contract wins across continental Europe demonstrate the potential of the Digital Marketing division.

Crowd Media will focus on growing and investing in the Digital Marketing division whilst restructuring and stabilising the mature Mobile division.

Revenues from digital marketing increased at approximately 240% to $1.7 million during FY19 and early contract wins with household brands demonstrate Crowd Media's ability to service a broad range of brands across multiple geographies and languages. Whilst this business unit is loss-making and is expected to require ongoing investments in the near-term, it also represents a major growth opportunity for the Company.

The Mobile division – which consists of Q&A and Subscription - currently accounts for the majority of the Company's revenues. During FY19 the combined business unit has delivered approximately $23 million in revenues, a 39% decline versus PCP. Management believes that headwinds are receding and a return to growth could be a major catalyst for the Company.

There are significant synergies between the two business units and we see the potential for the Company to unlock further value and yield cost improvements over time. With an undemanding valuation of 0.2x FY19 revenues, successful execution of Crowd Medias growth strategy could drive significant interest toward the stock.

THE BULLS AND THE BEARS

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THE BULLS SAY

  • Crowd Media has made significant progress since the beginning of the year, investing in growth opportunities and reducing its cost base
  • The Digital Marketing division has delivered $1.7 million in revenues in its first full year of operation and could be a powerhouse for growth
  • The recently completed debt refinance provides the company with financial flexibility while a strategic review will deliver approximately $3.5 million in annualised cost savings
  • There are significant synergies between the two business units and we see the potential for the Company to unlock further value and yield cost improvements over time.
  • With an undemanding valuation of 0.2x FY19 revenues, successful execution of Crowd Medias growth strategy could drive significant interest toward the stock
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THE BEARS SAY

  • Following a period of operational volatility and industry headwinds, there is no guarantee against further erosion of its earnings base
  • While the debt restructure provides financial flexibility, Crowd Media's balance sheet remains a risk
  • The Company's financial position could further deteriorate if operational targets are not achieved
  • Early signs of the Company’s Digital Marketing division are promising but there is no guarantee that ongoing growth can be achieved
  • The Company may be subject to increasing competition



General Information Only

S3 Consortium Pty Ltd (S3, ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘our’) (CAR No. 433913) is a corporate authorised representative of LeMessurier Securities Pty Ltd (AFSL No. 296877). The information contained in this article is general information and is for informational purposes only. Any advice is general advice only. Any advice contained in this article does not constitute personal advice and S3 has not taken into consideration your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Please seek your own independent professional advice before making any financial investment decision. Those persons acting upon information contained in this article do so entirely at their own risk.

Conflicts of Interest Notice

S3 and its associated entities may hold investments in companies featured in its articles, including through being paid in the securities of the companies we provide commentary on. We disclose the securities held in relation to a particular company that we provide commentary on. Refer to our Disclosure Policy for information on our self-imposed trading blackouts, hold conditions and de-risking (sell conditions) which seek to mitigate against any potential conflicts of interest.

Publication Notice and Disclaimer

The information contained in this article is current as at the publication date. At the time of publishing, the information contained in this article is based on sources which are available in the public domain that we consider to be reliable, and our own analysis of those sources. The views of the author may not reflect the views of the AFSL holder. Any decision by you to purchase securities in the companies featured in this article should be done so after you have sought your own independent professional advice regarding this information and made your own inquiries as to the validity of any information in this article.

Any forward-looking statements contained in this article are not guarantees or predictions of future performance, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond our control, and which may cause actual results or performance of companies featured to differ materially from those expressed in the statements contained in this article. S3 cannot and does not give any assurance that the results or performance expressed or implied by any forward-looking statements contained in this article will actually occur and readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

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