Graduate School of Business Administration
2.0 of Virginia
Nike, Inc.: Cost of Capital
On July 5, 2001, Kimi Ford, a portfolio manager at NorthPoint Group, a mutual fund management firm, pored over analyst write-ups of Nike, Inc., the athletic shoe manufacturer. Nike’s share price had declined significantly from the start of the year. Kimi was considering buying some shares for the fund she managed, the NorthPoint Large-Cap Fund, which invested mostly in Fortune 500 companies with an emphasis on value investing. Its top holdings included ExxonMobil, General Motors, McDonald’s, 3M and other large-cap, generally old-economy stocks. While the stock market declined over the last 18 months, NorthPoint Large-Cap had performed extremely well. In 2000, the fund earned a return of 20.7 percent even as the S&P 500 fell 10.1 percent. The fund’s year-to-date returns at the end of June, 2001 stood at 6.4 percent versus the S&P 500’s minus 7.3 percent.
Only a week ago, on June 28, 2001, Nike held an analysts’ meeting to disclose its fiscal year 2001 results1. However, the meeting had another purpose: Nike management wanted to communicate a strategy for revitalizing the company. Since 1997, Nike’s revenues had plateaued at around $9 billion, while net income had fallen from almost $800 million to $580 million (see Exhibit 1). Nike’s market share in U.S. athletic shoes had fallen from 48 percent in 1997 to 42 percent in 2000.2 In addition, recent supply-chain issues and the adverse effect of a strong dollar had negatively affected revenue.
At the meeting, management revealed plans to address both top-line growth and operating performance. To boost revenue, the company would develop more athletic shoe products in the mid-priced segment3 – a segment that it had overlooked in recent years. Nike also planned to push its apparel line, which, under the recent leadership of industry veteran Mindy Grossman4 had performed extremely well. On the cost side, Nike would exert more effort on expense control. Finally, company executives reiterated their long-term revenue growth targets of 8-10 percent, and earnings growth targets of above 15 percent. 1
Nike’s fiscal year ended in May.
Robson, Douglas, “Just Do…Something: Nike’s insularity and foot-dragging have it running in place”, Business Week, July 2, 2001
Sneakers in this segment sold for $70-$90 a pair.
Mindy Grossman joined Nike in September 2000. She was the former president and chief executive of Jones Apparel Group's Polo Jeans division.
This case was prepared from publicly available information by Jessica Chan under the supervision of Professor Robert F. Bruner. The financial support of the Batten Institute is gratefully acknowledged. This case was written as a basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate effective or ineffective handling of an administrative situation. Copyright 2001 by the University of Virginia Darden School Foundation, Charlottesville, VA. All rights reserved. To order copies, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or by any means— electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the permission of the Darden School Foundation. Rev. 10/02.
Analyst reactions were mixed. Some thought the financial targets to be too aggressive; others saw significant growth opportunities in apparel and in Nike’s international businesses. Kimi Ford read all the analyst reports that she could find about the June 28 meeting, but the reports gave her no clear guidance: a Lehman Brothers report recommended a ‘Strong Buy’ while UBS Warburg and CSFB analysts expressed misgivings about the company and recommended a ‘Hold’. Kimi decided instead to develop her own discounted-cash-flow forecast to come to a clearer conclusion.
Her forecast showed...
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