Balancing the Scale

Balancing the Scale

When companies grow to become large/mega cap businesses, they face both challenges and opportunities when they try to grow further. The specific circumstances for each company’s position significantly influences the potential or the impediments for continued expansion. Below are a few examples of some of the challenges and opportunities these companies may face.

The Challenges

Acquisitions
In acquisitions, large companies face a limited pool of targets due to fewer medium and large-sized companies compared to the number of small companies. Factors like compatibility and pricing reduce this pool further. With greater financial resources, acquiring companies often pay a premium for these companies to entice them to join. This trend is evident across numerous instances. For instance, in 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion. A decade later, WhatsApp boasts over 2 billion users but generates minimal revenue, estimated at around $1.2 billion for the previous year. Warren Buffett also regularly advises the lack of potential acquisition targets that Berkshire Hathaway can make to make a meaningful difference in their portfolio.

Product line and different markets
As companies achieve significant market share in different markets, introducing new products or expanding into new markets may not provide the same revenue and profit increases they previously enjoyed. Nike is currently experiencing this. Despite Nike rolling out numerous new products Nike’s revenue has had a compound annual growth rate of 7.2% for the last 2 fiscal years.

Corporate Constraints
As companies grow, their delivery platforms and teams need to be expanded to support their enlarged customer base and higher volumes. This may have been achieved with previous generation technologies and smaller more agile and flexible teams. With a larger client base and higher volumes and a complex platform, they may not be as agile as they previously were, increasing the time and costs of rolling out new products, services, and features; and allowing smaller, more nimble competitors to steal a march on them. Google is experiencing this with the roll-out of their AI tools, for example.

The Opportunities

Platforms
Businesses built as platforms, i.e. where multiple services are provided to clients, and new products or services can be added very quickly, however have an advantage despite their large/mega size. As platform businesses Microsoft, for example can expand by adding new features and services to their platform and further entrench existing and new customers into their ecosystem. Microsoft’s 365 product suite facilitates bundling various products, making it challenging for customers to switch once integrated. Moreover, they swiftly deploy new products to a vast customer base. For instance, between 2017 and 2023, the number of Microsoft Teams users surged from 2 million to 320 million, solidifying its leadership in virtual meetings arena.

There are many opportunities for companies to grow, but as they keep on growing there are certain challenges that they face. Some companies have a better ability to deal with these challenges than others.

Berkshire Hathaway and Microsoft are held in the Lunar BCI Worldwide Flexible Fund. They are also held by Lunar Capital’s Offshore Portfolio clients.

Key Indicators
Index / Fund / Rate
Start of Year
Last Week
This Week
% Change YTD
Index / Fund / Rate
Start of Year
188.33
Last Week
205.72
This Week
200.74
% Change YTD
6.59% Lunar Capital increasesymbol
Index / Fund / Rate
JSE ALSI
Start of Year
76 893
Last Week
74 536
This Week
74 775 Lunar Capital increasesymbol
% Change YTD
-2.75% Lunar Capital stocktake arrow down
Index / Fund / Rate
NASDAQ Composite
Start of Year
15 011
Last Week
16 379
This Week
16 250 Lunar Capital stocktake arrow down
% Change YTD
8.25% Lunar Capital increasesymbol
Index / Fund / Rate
S&P 500
Start of Year
4 770
Last Week
5 254
This Week
5 204 Lunar Capital stocktake arrow down
% Change YTD
9.11% Lunar Capital increasesymbol
Index / Fund / Rate
Prime Lending Rate
Start of Year
11.75%
Last Week
11.75%
This Week
11.75%
% Change YTD
0.00%
Index / Fund / Rate
USD/ZAR
Start of Year
18.30
Last Week
18.85
This Week
18.70 Lunar Capital stocktake arrow down
% Change YTD
2.19% Lunar Capital increasesymbol
Index / Fund / Rate
EUR/ZAR
Start of Year
20.17
Last Week
20.35
This Week
20.27 Lunar Capital stocktake arrow down
% Change YTD
0.50% Lunar Capital increasesymbol
Index / Fund / Rate
Brent Crude ($'barrel)
Start of Year
76.97
Last Week
86.97
This Week
90.87 Lunar Capital increasesymbol
% Change YTD
18.06% Lunar Capital increasesymbol
Source: Iress

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Disclosures
Lunar Capital (Pty) Ltd is a registered Financial Services Provider. FSP (46567)
Read our full Disclosure statement: https://lunarcapital.co.za/disclosures/
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The Lunar BCI Worldwide Flexible Fund Fact Sheet  can be read here.
This stocktake is prepared for the clients of Lunar Capital (Pty) Ltd. This stocktake does not constitute financial advice and is generated for information purposes only.

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