How Much ClubCorp Could Fetch in a Buyout

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ClubCorp Holdings Inc. (NYSE: MYCC) has confirmed the potential sale rumors that drove its shares higher on Thursday. The company announced that its board of directors has established a strategic review committee, which is reviewing and evaluating alternatives in an effort to further enhance shareholder value.

The committee is comprised of independent directors, and the company went on to note that it is “focusing on opportunities to further unlock the value inherent in the company.” ClubCorp also said that the committee is evaluating opportunities with a focus on maximizing value for all shareholders.

ClubCorp is one of those sorts of outfits that would appeal to hotel and resort operators, and perhaps even more appropriately would fit the bill of a private equity target. The real question here is what sort of a buyout premium it can fetch. The company is an owner-operator of private golf and country clubs (and private business clubs). It owns or operates more than 200 clubs in 26 states, Washington, D.C., and two foreign countries. It also serves more than 430,000 members, and the company claims as many as 20,000 peak-season employees.

It is also at a size that is far from prohibitive; even after the shares popped it has a market cap of just $1.1 billion. Its total assets were $2.17 billion, and its total debt was $1.11 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2016.

ClubCorp said that Jefferies and Wells Fargo were engaged to help assist the company as financial advisors. Interestingly enough, both companies have positive analyst ratings for ClubCorp.

In December, Jefferies featured ClubCorp also with a Buy rating, but its price target was put at $27. This was much more bullish than other reports, and it was around it benefiting from a recovery in oil prices. Jefferies said at that time:

Given its geographic exposure to Texas, we believe the rebound in oil prices also positions ClubCorp favorably. More specifically, the company has a strategic concentration of golf and country clubs in the state (23% of base) that account for ~31% of total revenues. … We maintain our price target of $27, which is based on ~10.2x CY’17 EBITDA of $269M. This multiple is a premium to the historical average since the IPO and consistent with peak levels when oil was significantly higher.

No recent report from Wells Fargo has been seen. Its official rating is listed as Outperform.

Back in November, MKM Partners featured ClubCorp with a Buy rating and with a $21 price target. Its report was after its own industry conference, and it said:

With its recurring member dues (50% of revenues), EBITDA has proven to be resilient through unpredictable weather events in the past two years. There was some impact from closures due to Hurricane Matthew in the fourth quarter, however we believe these were offset by warmer weather around the country post hurricane and the company’s efforts to get a couple of clubs up and running quickly. Management continues to see a rich pipeline for potential acquisitions and continues to target 17%-20% cash-on-cash returns. On the reinvention side, MYCC is moving past a major capex spend for Sequoia and there is a natural step-down in reinvention capex, which should benefit cash flow.

ClubCorp shares were last seen up 10% at $16.52, and after hitting a new 52-week high, its range for the past year is $9.75 to $16.90. Thomson Reuters has a consensus (mean) analyst price target of $18.18. That being said, its median analyst price target is $17.00.

ClubCorp came public in 2013 at $14.00 per share, which was shy of the $16.00 to $18.00 indicated price range. Some of its more recognized ClubCorp properties include the following:

  • Firestone Country Club (Akron, Ohio)
  • Mission Hills Country Club (Rancho Mirage, California)
  • The Woodlands Country Club (Woodlands, Texas)
  • Capital Club (Beijing)
  • The Metropolitan Club (Chicago)