This company has always been a little strange, but the recent developments are truly bizarre. They never can seem to find their niche in a profitable and sustaining business. Last year, they essentially canned most of their national sales staff and dropped this important task on a new and inexperienced in-house staff. In my experience, buying software from them now is like pulling teeth. Price increases have made many of their products uncompetitive with their major competition (e.g. TRIPOS). Now the CEO leaves and is replaced by another novice who offers no hint of any future direction whatsoever. What the heck is going on. Better take this Co. private and fast!
Please listen to Q3 2009 Accelrys Earnings call. COB Ken Coleman did not answer questions by the largest shareholder, Michael Kauffman - MAK Capital.
The CEO, Mark Emkjer, has a very successful respectable reputation for profitable turn arounds. He had to have left Accelrys because the board would not let him make the right strategic moves?! Now Coleman has put a novice CEO in place.
I don’t believe they caned their national sales staff last year, but did hire a new SVP of Sales, Ilene Vogt, who apparently (per other posts) drove the sales division at her previous company into the ground.
I totally agree with Kauffman….It does appear the BOD is just collecting their fees! They need a new COB, and the BOD should sell this company and put it out of its misery!
and see how a Chairman of the Board deals with the company's largest shareholder in today's world. When questioned about the poison pill, the stock price and the fact that no member of the Board owns any shares,the Chairman bristled and the company's largest shareholder was just cut off. That, in a nutshell, is what this company has been all about for years. The business does not produce profits, but is cash flow positive . Therefore, the company is just staying in one place and accumulates its cash ( raised in the moments of insanity of 2000). To paraphrase the questioner, the stock is either too cheap in which case it should be bought back or, which I think is the case, the business should be sold and the cash distributed to the shareholders. Instead, the Interim CEO, with little or no knowledge of the industry, was quick to indicate that he is considering acquisitions! Presumably, the companies considered as targets would be interesting because they are relatively cheap in which case the ACCL business is fairly valued by the market and should be sold. And so the proverbial "chasing of its own tail" continues. It was good to finally hear someone whose views are similar to mine but he seems to have so much more of his own "skin in the game" that I feel sorry for him and his partners. Too bad for him!
I'd disagree that he was cut off. He spoke for some time. He was, however, completely stonewalled. Not one substantive issue he raised was addressed.
Aside from that quibble, everything else you've stated in your post is right on the money.
This company's history has been an ongoing process of restructuring, mergers, asset and business line disposals, changes in business models, and other such events for as long as I can remember. Yet management has never been able to achieve consistent profitability. It's time for them to take that shareholder's suggestions seriously.
And how would the "taking private" act go down? How much more than $4/share do you think anyone would pay for it? Because, if you do not have an answer for this, then nothing will change. As it stands, ACCL has a market cap of around $116-120 million with about $70 million in cash. Therefore the business is valued at about $40-50 million. But how much is it really worth? I know it looks cheap at this valuation but...how much is a business incapable of showing a serious operating profit worth? Answer this question and you will be able to predict how things will unfold. On the other hand, I totally agree with the fact that this is not a business to run in a public vehicle. This may also explain why so many CEO's have failed in the past.
Perhaps Pfizer is interested. I dunno. Pfizer has a lot of its own in-house modeling software that they mainly use, but Accelrys has a lot of interesting features in its products.
One thing that is apparent to me lately is that in their sales efforts they are trying to align themselves more with companies than with the academic community.
I would expect an announcement of either a sizable stake being taken by a pharmaceutical company, or else an outright buyout in the next couple of weeks. Whoever buys it will get it very cheap...so I am not expecting for any windfall.