Turnaround Investing Blog

George Putnam, one of the country's leading turnaround and distressed investing professionals, shares his timely insight on the economy and turnaround investing opportunities.

Small Cap / Food, Beverage, & Tobacco

Amplify Snacks--Hershey’s Acquires at 71% Premium

Specialty snack maker Amplify Snack Brands (BETR) agreed to be acquired by the Hershey Company for $12/share, a 71% premium over Friday’s closing price of $7/share. With the overall food industry showing stagnant growth, snack companies like Amplify offer the food giants a rare opportunity to participate in a rapidly-growing segment.

We highlighted Amplify as a strong turnaround candidate in October (“Amplify Snack Brands Worthy of a Nibble”), describing how its stock had fallen nearly 60% from its October 2015 initial public offering price of $18, to its then-current price of $7.23.

Amplify’s weak share price caught our attention—we became much more interested as it offered a combination of real value with significant positive changes. Its emphasis on “Better-for-You” snacks with allergen-free and GMO-free ingredients, led by SkinnyPop, the nation’s #2 ready-to-eat popcorn brand, provided a strong and growing $400 million revenue base. With a controlling stake held by private equity firm TA Associates, the company had a patient and experienced owner that helped bring in several highly capable senior leaders to accelerate its growth.

For shareholders of Amplify, the acquisition by Hershey’s is a sweet deal right in time for the Holidays.

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Amazon = US GDP 1970

Amazon joined Apple in reaching a $1 trillion market capitalization. $1 trillion is about the same as the total value of New York City property and the total value of loans at JP Morgan, the nation’s largest bank in terms of assets. Jeff Bezos’ $160 billion stake would place him (personally) as the #33 largest company in the S&P 500 in terms of market cap, next to Coca-Cola, Disney and Netflix. We aren’t bold enough to predict whether the shares will continue upwards or if they are in a bubble reaching maximum inflation. Setting aside for a moment their investment prospects, let’s admire the truly remarkable milestone that these two companies have reached. Read More.

EV/EBITDA: What Is It & Why Are We Using It More?

In reading recent editions of The Turnaround Letter, you have probably noticed that we are increasingly using EV/EBITDA as a valuation measure, rather than the better-known price/earnings multiple.  We thought it might be useful to describe this measure and why we like it.

Read More.

Turnaround Letter Stock Pick Named Top Performer of 2017


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What Last Year's Top Stock Pickers Are Buying in 2018


This Forbes write-up follows up on the recent Top Stock Tips report--naming The Turnaround Letter's Crocs recommendation the top performer of 2017: With 90% gains, CROX beat out 100 other investment ideas included in the report; and the stock continues to have value investing appeal, according to Putnam.


George notes, "We see additional upside for the stock in 2018 as management's efforts continue to bear fruit, though the gains will likely be more muted than we saw in 2017."