Hedge Fund Stock Pitch Template: How to Use Valuation to Outline a Buy-Side Stock Pitch (26:05)

You will outline a stock pitch for Jazz Pharmaceuticals in this lesson, and learn how to make a decision when the numbers are ambiguous, as well as how to support your arguments with data and how to discuss catalysts and risk factors in a convincing way.

Valuation Interpretation and Uses: How to Use
Valuation to Outline a Buy-Side Stock Pitch

Hello and welcome to our next lesson in this final valuation summary module. This time around, we’re going to begin putting together the pieces that we need to create the stock pitch for Jazz Pharmaceuticals. And really, this is the main point of this entire case study over the past three modules. You learned about valuation, the discounted cash flow analysis, and then how to put together all the pieces. And really the main reason we did this, going back to one of the first lessons in these modules, was to figure out the narrative that we believe about the company, what its story is, and then to tie everything out in terms of the actual numbers and impact those numbers make on its valuation. So in a sense, we’re really returning to the beginning here.

Now so far, we have also looked at an investment banking pitch book, and we’ve looked at some of the valuation summary and football field charts, and those are all useful as well, and you really would do a very similar type of valuation in investment banking and other fields. But really the main point of this one is to figure out how our view of this company is different from the market consensus views of the company and how we can potentially use that to make money by investing in this company.


So this type of stock pitch is going to be very applicable if you’re working at a hedge fund, if you’re working in asset management, and even if you’re working at an investment bank, if you’re in the equity research department or just a research department in general. You will have to be making these types of pitches and analyses all the time. Now there will be some differences, which we’ll go through in the lesson on the equity research report, but for the most part you can still use a similar structure and you can still think about companies the same way if you’re analyzing them as public markets investments.

So what we’re going to go through here are the five main steps of this process. Step number one is to review the numbers and see if we can make any decisions based on that. Step number two will be to sensitize the assumptions you are most uncertain of and then to decide based on those. So in steps one and two, it’s really the decision-making process.


We’re saying, do we want to bet against this company? Do we want to bet in favor of this company? In other words, do we think it is overvalued, do we think it’s undervalued, and which direction do we think it’s going to head in in the future?

Then, in Step 3 – as you can see, step two here is actually quite extended – in Step 3 we have to substantiate the catalysts. When you’re on the buy-side or if you think about public companies in general, in order to make an investment recommendation like this, you have to have catalysts: events that are going to change the company’s share price. Usually these events are within the next 6 to 12 months. If you don’t have something like that, then companies can stay mispriced for a very long time. So it’s really important to point these out, substantiate them, and see what their impact on the valuation could be.

Then, Step 4 will be the risk factors. This is something that you will never really see on the investment banking side, at least in M&A deals. If you have an IPO or if you have debt offering or something like that, then yes, when you’re marketing a company you will disclose risk factors as well.


But the way you disclose risk factors here is very different because you’re not really disclosing risk factors. What you’re doing is you’re assigning a per share value to each risk factor; you’re tying these to the catalyst and you’re saying, if we’re wrong about this assumption, here’s how much money we’re going to lose. You will never see something like that in an IPO filing or a debt filing or anything else that an investment bank would file to represent a client. They would disclose qualitatively what some of the risk factors are but they would never get this specific.

So we’re going to get very specific about that. And then we’re also going to look at ways to mitigate these risk factors, because of course even though we could be wrong about this, if we mitigate some of these risk factors and we hedge ourselves with options, with investments in other companies for example, or other indices-then potentially we can reduce some of our losses here.


And then in Step 5 we’re going to put together all the pieces. And I’m going to give you an outline of what a real stock pitch should look like, starting with the recommendation and the key reasons why, then the company background, then the investment thesis, the catalyst, the valuation, the risk factors and mitigants, and then the worst case scenario at the end.

So that’s what we’re going to cover. Now the outline is really just an abbreviated version of our actual stock pitch, which we’ll get to in the next lesson. But that is what is in store. So let’s go up and start with step number one. And I want to start here with how you make a decision, because a lot of people overcomplicate the process. When you have a very limited amount of case time for case studies or in interviews, you can’t do that. You really have to make a decision quickly and even on the job, yes, sometimes you’ll go through an extended analysis of a company, but in other cases, you just have to make a decision quickly because timing is critical for these types of investments with public companies.

So the first thing I would say, in general, is you always want to start with the numbers. If the numbers clearly indicate that the company is overvalued, you have a very easy case to make. If the numbers clearly indicate that the company is undervalued, then you have another easy case to make. You want to bet in favor of this company and bet that its share price will rise over time.


Of course, what happens in most cases is that the numbers are ambiguous, or they indicate that the company’s valued appropriately. In that case it gets a lot harder. And what you have to do then is think about your options. You could just give a neutral recommendation, but generally you don’t want to do this unless they assign you a specific company. If you have to come in and present something on a company of your selection, of your choosing, then you want to come in with a strong positive or negative view one way or the other. Now you could also go in and hedge yourself by recommending a long or short of the stock, but also using options andlimiting your losses to maybe 5% or 10% at the most.

What we’re going to do in this case study is, if you recall from some of the numbers we looked at previously, this is a case where we would say that the company is clearly undervalued.


Because if you go down and look at all the sensitivity tables, pretty much all the tables with values and assumptions and reasonable reaches tell us that the company’s intrinsic value-what it should be worth, what the share price should be-is well above what it is at right now. So pretty much all these tables, except for the extreme downside sensitivities, tell us the same thing. That’s not particularly interesting to go through and to walk you through the decision- making process for, because it’s just too easy.

So this is one case where what we’re going to do is change around the numbers slightly. So what I’ve done here is I have actually gone in and modified the Xyrem assumptions and made them more in line with the base case assumptions that we use in the investment banking pitch book. So I’ve assumed a 20% discount to the market penetration and a 50% discount to the growth rate in annual price per patient. As a result of that we now have very different hard- coded baseline numbers for both these, and of course our Xyrem revenue only goes up to less than half of what it is in our management case or our more optimistic scenario here.


The reason why I’ve done this is because with these numbers it gets a whole lot more interesting. Why? Because the sensitivities and all the tables are a lot more ambiguous. In the middle of the table we get to somewhere close to the company’s current share price, and as you go down, that pattern repeats itself. So I changed around the numbers a bit just to give you a more interesting example to look at and to show you how the decision-making process would work for something like this instead.

So this word document, the second page here, we’re just laying out what we already went through-that with these base case numbers, it’s more ambiguous, because it depends on what we think the discount rate should be, it depends on what we think the company’s long-term free cash flow growth rate should be, and depending on our opinion of those, the company could be overvalued, appropriately valued, or undervalued. So when you have a situation like this, you need to move on to step number two, which is sensitizing the assumptions you’re most uncertain of and then deciding based on those.


So in most models, you should really only have a few key drivers. If you have more drivers than that, if you have hundreds or dozens of key drivers, because your model is very complicated, that’s all well and good, but for purposes of sensitivities, we would strongly recommend simplifying it down to a few key variables because if you have that many, it’s going to be very difficult to actually make a decision on anything one way or the other.

Sometimes bankers and other finance professionals like to go in and create these extremely complex models that go down to individual employees. And we actually have some of them in some of our courses, but usually when you’re making investment decisions, that level of detail doesn’t help you that much. What does help is if you can make some kind of overall assumptions or some kind of overall sensitivity table that ties into for example the average expenses per employee or the total number of employees or some other key driver like that, and let you modify everything from a single cell.


So what we’re doing here is we’re going to look at assumptions that we are most uncertain of and see what those indicate about the company’s valuation. We’re going to focus on valuations that make a significant impact on a model output: ones that are easy to reduce to a single cell and then ones that could actually change over time.

So going back to one of the points we raised before about it not making sense for buy-side analysts to analyze sensitivities for the Discount Rate versus the Terminal Growth Rate: it’s not that it doesn’t make sense exactly-you could still look at that and we do still look at it here-but generally speaking, to make your actual investment decision, you want to focus on things like when generics enter the market, how much prices are going up by, what the market penetration changes by, what operating margins change by- we didn’t even look at that here but that’s another one you could potentially look at.

A lot of this also goes back to our narrative for this company, which we discussed in lesson two about the market size being bigger than expected, pricing increasing by more than expected, generics taking longer than expected to enter the market, other drugs possibly outperforming. So we want to go back to those points and tie our narrative directly into the assumptions that we are sensitizing right here.


Now in some cases it’ll turn out that not all of the assumptions actually make a difference. For example, the drugs outside of Xyrem, at least in this timeframe, don’t really make a huge difference on the final output of the valuation. So we’ll still look at them, but we probably will not use them in our final analysis here.

And then we go through a few other examples here. Something like patient number for drugs would also not make sense to sensitize against because those are fairly fixed. It’s dangerous to assume that more people or fewer people are going to suffer from a certain disease or a chronic condition each year. And basically we reach the conclusion here that there is a whole lot more uncertainty about the Xyrem assumptions. And so that’s what we want to focus on in this case.


And then here I’m just showing you in visual format that what I did is I just took that 20% discount and 50% discount and then moved them down to become the new baseline numbers right here. We’ve already been through that in Excel, so I’m not going to show you all that again.

And so with those new assumptions in place, what we can then do is look at all these sensitivity tables for the Price Increases and the Market Penetration, among other variables. So with this one about the Price Increases versus the Market Penetration, what’s really interesting is that if we’re right with our baseline numbers, the company’s actually still undervalued by a little amount, not by a huge amount, by around $15 per share, $14, $15 per share, something like that. Even if we’re wrong by more like 20%, it’s close to appropriately valued because the current share price is $129; we get $126 in this scenario.

So based on this, we think that there’s a good chance of maybe a 15% or 20% upside. Because we think it’s more likely that the actual values will come out to be in this range that I just highlighted in the table.


So, so far even with the base case numbers, this is looking like an undervalued company. Then we go through some of the logic over here. Now even in an extreme downside scenario, let’s say we’re off by 80% for both these. Actually it still doesn’t really look that bad. Yes, our applied share price goes down to more like $80-90 or $80-100, but in the grand scheme of things if you think about it, that’s not really a huge discount to the $129 or $130 price that the company’s at right now.

So what this is telling us and why this is useful is that this is sort of like the worst-case scenario. That’s one way to think about it. What it’s telling us is that we could potentially buy options at that level with the right terms that effectively say that if the share price drops to this much, that’s going to be the maximum amount of losses we’re going to take on this investment. Then the other thing to look at here is the entrance year of the Xyrem generics versus the annual price increases.


And here the conclusion is that as long as generics enter in fiscal 2019 or later, then the company is either valued appropriately or still somewhat undervalued. Now if the generics enter in 2021 or 2022, there’s actually some modest amount of upside-it looks like maybe 15 or
20%, 10, 15, 20%, something in that range.

So those are some of the conclusions we could draw from that table. We don’t think it’s terribly likely that generics are going to enter in 2014 to 2017; no one seems to really think that and that would be exceptionally early for them to enter the market here.

So here I’m just summing up some of the conclusions from our tables that essentially, even if we’re somewhat wrong on these assumptions, the company’s current share price seems to imply that they’re appropriately valued. If the base case estimates are exactly true, the company’s undervalued. And if the numbers are modestly above the base case estimates, the company’s undervalued. Even if the generics enter in 2019, it’s not a disaster because the implied share prices are something close to our current share price. And so, so far this is definitely looking like a good long candidate.


If you look at some of the other variables like the Defitelio annual price increases and the Defitelio market penetration, the overall conclusion here is that these just don’t matter very much. Even when we change this by negative 20% to positive 20%, we only get a per share difference of about $15, which is insignificant next to all the Xyrem assumptions, so interesting to note and it could boost our implied share price by a little bit, but overall it’s probably not going to be a key part of our investment thesis or stock pitch for this company.

One of the reasons why I bring this up here is because part of what you have to do when you’re analyzing these investments is decide what matters and what does not matter, because if you focus too much on things that don’t matter, you may make the mistake of many other people on the market, which is that a lot of people tend to overvalue certain negative aspects or perceived negative aspects of a business.


Your job is to separate those out, run the numbers, and see if they matter or if they don’t matter. And in this case, we would say that even if we end up being a lot more negative on the Defitelio than expected, it just wouldn’t make that big a difference.

So here’s the overall conclusion we’ve gotten to so far. We think the annual price increases and market penetration will be greater than expected. We think the generics are going to enter later than expected. Based on all that, we think the company’s undervalued. Even if we’re somewhat wrong, really all it means is that the company is appropriately valued at its current levels. Now if we’re extremely wrong, then yes, it is overvalued, but we don’t think it’s terribly likely and we think there are also ways to protect against that from happening.

So now that we’re done with part two, let’s go to part three: substantiating the catalysts. So here I go into the definition of what a catalyst is. You can read this for yourself. Long story short, you want something near term-the next 6 to 12 months. It doesn’t have to be a real event-it could be a potential event, like an acquisition potentially closing, or a new product potentially being announced, or a drug moving to the next phase of clinical trials, something like that that could conceivably happen within the next 6 to 12 month span.


I have here an example from a real equity research report we looked at. They give a catalyst calendar for the company. And so this just gives you flavor of the types of things that analysts working in this industry will be looking at when valuing public companies. Then we have a whole list of catalysts for biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Again, you can read this. The most significant ones, generally speaking, are at the top; clinical trial results, new products, changes to the pricing, changes to the target market. Regional expansion could be another good one. FDA approval, new patents or drug exclusivities, these all correspond to generics entering the market. And then you could even have something like new R&D, new manufacturing, new distribution, and new royalty agreements.

Lawsuits and legal settlements are a big one here because this other company, Roxane Laboratories, which is a subsidiary of a German company, got into legal trouble. Jazz sued the company because they tried to come out with a generic version of Xyrem that they felt was infringing on patents. So there’s a big legal dispute going on there.


Then acquisitions, divestitures, other M&A deals. A couple of things here would be all the companies that Jazz has acquired, will acquire, and how those will affect its earnings and outlook. And then also other M&A deals on the market, because during this time, there was a wave of tax inversion deals in the U.S. around the time of this case study, so if a US-based company is looking to reincorporate in Ireland and get a much lower tax rate, Jazz Pharmaceuticals could be a very good candidate for doing that.

And then a few others here would be earnings announcements, competitors’ activities, and then financing activities. Here, the catalyst we’re focusing on will be the changes to the pricing and to the target market and then the lawsuits and legal settlements, because all our key drivers relate to pricing, volume, and then generics entering the market later than expected.

You also want to make sure that whatever you pick can tie in directly to your key assumptions and sensitivities, and if it doesn’t, then you need to go back and change around your model so that it does.


What we’ll do in our stock pitch is come up with per share impacts for all these factors and say that if we’re off by one year on generics entering, our share price goes down by $2.50 or down by $5.00 or whatever it comes out to be.

So really the bottom line with catalysts is that they’re extremely important, and if you cannot come up with good ones, then you may not actually have a good investment recommendation. I see a lot of stock pitches and investment recommendations that are missing good catalysts, so they’ll make this argument and say, this company’s undervalued, this company’s overvalued for reasons X, Y, and Z, and they’ll go into all this analysis, have all these numbers, but the problem is that there are no solid catalysts to back it up.

And even the professional investors, hedge fund managers that are worth billions of dollars, can make this mistake as well. And they have made this mistake before, where they have a clear case that a company is overvalued or undervalued or whatever it is, but they have no catalyst that is going to drive its stock price in that direction.


So it’s really, really important to think this through and come up with something solid for these.

Now the next one, Step 4: Determining the Risk Factors and How to Mitigate Them. This one is fairly simple because all you do is flip around the catalyst, so you reverse your catalyst and say, okay, what if the events do not occur as planned? What if they do not announce pricing increases? What if they do not announce an effective marketing campaign and outreach campaign to potential Xyrem patients? What if they announce a negative outcome from their lawsuit or other ongoing negative proceedings? What happens to the implied share price then?

You could think about other things beyond the ones that are directly linked to the catalyst, but we do suggest starting there because it’s a little bit easier to think about the downside and the per share impact if your risk factors are directly linked into the catalyst. So once you’ve estimated the per share impact from all of these, which we’ll look at later on with our sensitivities, you want to talk about how you might hedge against these risks.


So, for example, if you are making a long recommendation, the key risk is that the company’s share price is going to fall instead. To protect against that, you could buy a put option. And then you have some protection in case the company’s share price falls; you can actually take advantage of that and you can limit your losses to whatever level the company’s share price has fallen to. You could also do things like longing or shorting other companies that move the opposite direction of your company in most cases.

In this example here, we go through this to say that if another company out there makes generics and they’re making a Xyrem generic drug, well, we could buy the stock of that company as a potential hedge here and say that hey, even if Jazz’s stock falls by a good amount, this other company’s stock may rise as generics for this drug start to come to the market.

And then finally here you want to look at the worst-case scenario. There are a couple of ways you could do this. You could look at the company’s cash per share. In this case for Jazz Pharmaceuticals, it is not terribly meaningful, because remember, they do not actually have that much cash.


If you go over and look at the public comps, the company has about $251 million cash on its balance sheet, which is really almost nothing, it’s not even close to their market value or enterprise value or anything like that. So in this case it wouldn’t help us much.

But of course, there are other approaches as well. You could look at tangible assets minus liabilities and see how much they could go for in a bankruptcy scenario; you could look at the value of non-core assets that the company could sell to raise cash. So here for biotech companies, it could even be something like intellectual properties or royalty rights or something like that. You don’t even have to stick to tangible assets; technically you could pick intangible assets as well and look at how much those might be worth to a potential acquirer.

The reason this is so important is because if you are an investor – if you’re putting your own money to work buying and selling shares and companies, you could potentially lose everything. And so you want to think about that and really sit down and say, what would it take for me to lose everything on this investment? And this is something that bankers never really think about, because they’re not putting their own money to use. They’re advising clients on what they would do with buying, selling and raising capital.


So it is much, much more important to have a good handle on this for buy-side roles, and even if you’re working in corporate development at a company, which is sort of a buy-side role as well in that you’re acquiring other companies, you need to have a good handle on this, because if you make one bad acquisition, that could be it for your career in some cases. So you have to be really, really careful and thoughtful with this section.

So then, Step 5: Putting Together All the Pieces. This is also a bit of a recap and a summary of all we’ve went through above. But essentially here the idea is that these principles apply to any industry. We focused on biotech and pharmaceuticals here, but really they apply to anything. Yes, some of the drivers, the catalysts, and the risk factors will be different, but fundamentally you can still go through the same process.


You can start by creating an outline, as we’ll do down here, and then you can draft PowerPoint slides or create a written Word document with your stock pitch included. PowerPoint slides tend to be faster because you don’t need to write as much text, but the stock pitch can be a lot more detailed and can do a better job of actually explaining your reasoning.

So our outline here will start with a recommendation, and we’re saying that it is undervalued by 50%; the market has the incorrect view of Xyrem sales because of the aggressive outreach and marketing campaigns, the aggressive pricing increases, and then also the fact that generics are actually longer away from entering the market than most people think. Other drugs are potentially promising, but really the main point here is that even if we’re wrong with all this, and even if we just take consensus estimates, the company still appears to be moderately undervalued by about 10 to 15%. We have our potential catalysts and then we also list our risk factors here.

Then we have a section on the company background, and you’ll be seeing an example of this later on in our real stock pitch, but we give information on the multiples, the financial projections, the revenue by product, and so on.


Then we go through our investment thesis, which really consists of three simple things: that they can increase prices by more than people expect, they can increase volume by more than people expect, and then generics are going to be entering the market later than most people expect. So catalysts would be all very closely linked to those. Price increases, the outreach campaign, and then the settlement of the lawsuit and other legal matters related to these generics.

Then we go into the valuation. We’d probably paste in something like our football field chart at some point in this process. With something like this, we’ll probably also paste in some parts of our DCF analysis and the sensitivity tables there. We don’t want to go too crazy with pasting in a ton of text or other info because it just gets hard to read in PowerPoint form.

And then finally the risk factors. So we’re basically reversing the catalyst and saying that the annual price increases are not enacted; the outreach campaign doesn’t work; negative legal news is announced; and then say that we can mitigate these risks with options and also by longing companies that will become competitors, that will produce and sell generics for Xyrem.


And then our perfect storm scenario saying that at worst, we see the share price declining to $80 to $100 per share, but we don’t think it’s likely and we think there are ways to protect against it, such as buy-in options and longing competitive generics companies.

So that’s it for our outline of the stock pitch. I wanted to go over this first because it’s really important to understand how to make a decision and how to think about this process and to outline your stock pitch before you even write anything. Too many people make the mistake of jumping into Excel or jumping into actually start writing their pitch before they’ve even figured out what they’re going to say. So it’s really, really important to do this first. We’re going to be using this in our stock pitch in the next lesson, and then after that we’ll also be using elements of this in our sample equity research report as well.

So coming up next, as I just mentioned, we’ll be going through our stock pitch, then the equity research report, and then we’ll be wrapping up this module and our valuation coverage with another very important topic that I’ve not seen treated or talked about in a lot of other sources.


So that is what’s coming up next here.

Table of Contents:

  • 4:20: Reviewing the Numbers
  • 7:54: Sensitizing the Assumptions You’re Most Uncertain of and Deciding Based on Those
  • 15:37: Substantiating the Catalysts
  • 19:09: Determining the Risk Factors and How to Mitigate Them
  • 22:32: Putting Together All the Pieces
  • 25:21: Recap and Summary

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