What Is XO Worth?

September 30th, 2009 by · 18 Comments

Commenting on Monday's article on rejection of Icahn's offer by the board of XO Holdings (news, filings), regular reader Brian Scully asks:

In a world without Icahn, what are the XO assets and revenue stream worth?

A fair question, first let's have a poll and see what readers think.
[poll id="30"]

Now for my own thoughts.  XO is an odd duck, it has very valuable assets but a large revenue base that doesn't really fit those assets - hence the low EBITDA margins.  But like anything else, XO is worth what buyers are willing (and able) to pay for it.  We already have a few datapoints in that regard in the form of early stage offers last spring and summer.  One bidder offered $940M for the wireline business and not including the NOLs, and another offered around $1B straight up.  The financial advisor at the time felt these were viable options, and that was not an opinion XO was asking for.  Those offers therefore would seem to be a reasonable guide.

However, we should keep in mind that neither offer was successful and both may have had some upside available if XO had been a bit more agreeable.  Also, these bids were unsolicited - other bidders might show up if a real auction began and this would drive up the price.  On the other hand, a whole lot has changed in the 15-18 months since in terms of industry valuations and the availability of capital.  Whatever bidders might have been willing to pay then has probably declined since.  I'd have to guess, however, that the two mostly offset.

So if Icahn weren't Icahn, I think XO could sell for $1B right now if they wanted to, which corresponds to something near $1.75 for common shares.  But of course Icahn is still in fact Icahn.  Since the cat is still playing with the mouse and might try to eat it again at any moment, the value of the mouse is more of a theoretical than practical concept.


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Categories: Internet Backbones · Mergers and Acquisitions · Metro fiber · Old · Polls

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18 Comments So Far


  • DLM says:

    A buyer would have to figure it could wring at least a 16% EBITDA margin out of this network without breaking too much of a sweat. That’s $240MM in EBITDA.

    That has to be worth at least 6x to a strategic buyer because (i) there are some irreplaceable assets here and (ii) without breathing too hard you could, over a few years, achieve synergies of at least $100MM.
    That gets you TEV of at least $1.4BN. And that would be a bargain for the right buyer.

  • thewanderer says:

    That’s not really how it works though. You don’t usually get to sell your company for what it would be worth if you weren’t underachieving.

  • Brian Scully says:

    Since Dan was/is interested in XO and I value his opinion, I would be interested to hear his evaluation.

    Dan???

  • D Patrick says:

    What an interesting question. Based on information I got from this website, a buddy of mine and myself bought about 1K of XO stock at .18/share. I appreciate the insight. If the stock gets to .80/share I’m selling. Any takers?

    • Mike says:

      It has to be worth something if Level 3 and TW Telecom were looking at it. They have a robust network. level 3 doesn’t have the money and TW does not have the cash. If it were to be a stock trade off, XO’s stock is not worth very much, so, they are between a rock and a hard place.

  • carlk says:

    LVLT doesn’t have the money, or won’t be rolled themselves? Yup, that’s what the stock price keeps saying!

    To his disadvantage, he came out of that TICKING TIME BOMB of a LEVERED quasi-government cesspool, not to mention that house of cards, Merrill Stingy, before his Fannie tenure.

  • carlk says:

    Oh, me forgot! Google Chrome’s copy and paste feature doesn’t work here. One must use Msft’s IE.

  • Tony D says:

    Any chance Icahn just wants to own this company for his on benefit? One more giant contract and this company is a cash cow.

    • Rob Powell says:

      Anything is possible, but ever since the difficulties of the Allegiance acquisition, it has seemed as if he had no interest in doing more than preserving the assets.

  • NONE says:

    MOST companys are worth 5 to seven time’s revenues. but this isn’t regular times. so conservative would be 3 times revenues, 1.5 billion times 3 = 4.5 billion. minus Carl 750 million investment leaves 3.75 billion . divided by 185 million shares = 20 dollars a share. and if the company profitable in next year add on to that.. these low ball figures i see of 1 to 2 dollars is totally foolish…..

  • Anonymous says:

    Any ideas where XO’s capex has gone? Looks like they have spent close to 500 million over the last 30 months without a whole lot to show for that. Any hidden upside from this capex binge?

    • Parkite says:

      Bringing lots of bldgs on-net. Although, as Rob knows, they don’t actively update their lit bldg list for the public.

  • Paul Gates says:

    I have owned XO for over a year. from .20 to .70 in a few months. I am in the communications field and I was told recently that our company was considering a bid for XO.
    We are the 2nd largest wireless network in the world, and I a

  • Brian Scully says:

    Any idea what is behind the confidential order to withhold information from the Q2 report?

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