This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Companies That Serve as Buyout Targets

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- When evaluating small-cap stocks, individual investors would do well to emulate private-equity professionals.

Focusing on balance sheets and private-market valuations of small companies cuts through the noise sounded by volatile stock markets like today's. After all, price isn't always indicative of value. The difference between the two can mean big profits for discerning investors, says Mark Travis, chief executive officer of Intrepid Capital Funds.

Travis uses such a strategy to determine the price that a rational buyer, paying cash, would offer for a company. Many companies he follows are growing fast and generating a lot of cash, but retail investors know very little about them because they fly under Wall Street's radar.

"We tend to be shopping where most retail investors -- and even some institutional ones -- aren't looking," Travis says. "Most of the market focuses on S&P 500 companies. We tend to be a small-cap buyer historically, so we don't spend a lot of time trying to guess Cisco's (CSCO) next quarter or Exxon's (XOM) margins."

Travis says companies that generate cash consistently attract suitors, either larger companies in their industry or private-equity firms. If neither comes forward, Travis is happy knowing the investment will continue to grow as the company's cash builds up.

Stable businesses with little debt tend to be winners, Travis says.

"That makes them durable when you go through some of the bumps we've been through in the last three to five years," he says. "We're not trying to front-run Steve Schwarzman at Blackstone (BX). We just happen to like the characteristics of cash generators."

Patience is key, though, as there are risks to this trading style, Travis says.

"You're probably going to buy when no one else thinks it's a good idea," he says. "It tends to be not as correlated to the market. When everyone else is partying, you may not be. If the market races ahead, these types of businesses and share prices tend to lag."

For those investors looking to capitalize on the gap between price and value, Travis delivers a list of five stocks that he owns through Intrepid Capital Funds.

1 of 6

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,246.83 +89.98 0.52%
S&P 500 2,009.15 +7.58 0.38%
NASDAQ 4,585.6040 +23.4150 0.51%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs