Case Studies

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Situation

Alpha’s client had grown from an orphaned small-cap company near death into a rapidly growing mid-cap concern within just a few years. Growth had been achieved both organically and through a number of intelligent acquisitions. The IR function and the Company’s materials were fairly reactive as a result of such a rapid transformation. The executive team felt their messaging and materials had grown stale and reactive and hoped to create a more strategic approach to their IR messaging and program in general.

Solution

Alpha IR spent several weeks evaluating our new partner’s strategic plan, inclusive of board materials, all historical communications, executive interviews, and key buy-side interviews. Based on this analysis, our team developed a new platform for the Company’s key investment thesis and overhauled its investor presentation. This presentation was highly received only one month into our engagement at the industry’s top sell-side sponsored conference. Alpha’s team then used the new platform to redevelop all other investor materials, including the IR portion of the website, a new investor factsheet, and a series of educational pieces designed to help new investors get up to speed on investing in the industry.

Situation

Alpha was engaged to help a client communicate around the strategic acquisition of a significant interest in another public company. This deal was both creative and somewhat unique, so the client’s investor communication was fairly complex. Further, the primary audience for this transaction was the investment community. Thus, the client wanted to avoid the excessive fees that a crisis/PR firm would charge for an event that was 90% IR-oriented.

Solution

Alpha IR created the messaging platforms for all key stakeholders for both the acquired entity and the acquiring entity as the transaction was friendly. Our work included the development of the key investor messaging and materials for both companies. Next our team developed numerous materials for the employee and customer bases of both companies. As a result of this combination and a highly effective messaging campaign, both stocks increased over 30% within one month of closing the transaction. Equally as important, our client avoided $500+ per hour in crises fees.

Situation

Alpha’s client was an energy Company and a recent IPO. Within a few months of becoming a public company, the Company had a large fire that caused a death at one of its facilities. As a newer company, the client had a series of crises mechanisms in place to handle the event locally, but not at the national level (i.e. the investor level).

Solution

Alpha IR is an expert at IR crises, both large and small. Be it an executive transition, a strategic direction shift, a significant earnings miss, or any other significant IR crises, our team has seen it all. In this situation, our three team model put us in a unique position to immediately drive the internal board-level conversation and deliver a thoughtful external disclosure plan. Ultimately, three communication vehicles were used over the course of a month long investigation and Alpha IR helped communicate all of these proactively with the client’s core buy-side holders. The management team was able to maintain and even enhance its credibility by handling this situation with class and in open manner with investors.

Situation

Alpha’s client was a rapidly emerging small-cap company, with a dominant (near monopoly) position in its core business. The Company had few direct peers and had also invested the large majority of its profits over the prior three years on a new product that could dramatically shift the Company’s profile. That said, investor confidence had become extremely negative through this “investment phase,” driving sentiment to an all-time low.

Solution

Alpha IR was hired to develop a strategic approach to both today’s IR program, and to consider tomorrow’s strategic IR needs when the new product would become a meaningful revenue contributor. This evolution would result in the client shifting from a product/device company into a SaaS (Software as a Service) concern. To build the strategic IR plan, our team first evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of the current shareholder profile and performed a comprehensive Wall Street perception study.

Our findings were presented to the board of directors and were used to create more impactful investor materials. Further, in an effort to improve the Company’s investor visibility, we evaluated the last two years of sell-side sponsored NDRs/conferences to assess the quality of each analyst’s efforts and developed our own buy-side and sell-side targeting priorities. Our work directly resulted in the initiation of coverage by a new sell-side analyst within two months of our engagement.

Ultimately, Alpha IR developed an IR plan that balanced short-term needs with the long-term transition that was expected in the business. The IR plan focused on rapidly rebuilding the credibility of the management team. Six quarters later, our client’s stock appreciated several hundred percent through the strength of the IR effort, the performance of the Company, and through the Street’s broad recognition of this exciting transformation.

Situation

Alpha’s client was a highly regarded large-cap company that had used a quantitative and anonymous approach to perception studies in the past. However, the client wanted to improve the sophistication and impact of these periodic studies, so the Company hired Alpha IR to perform both a qualitative and quantitative review of all of its key investors and analysts.

Solution

Using our in-house staff of IR consultants (we never outsource any of our work), the team contacted 18 of our client’s high profile investors. To complement this qualitative work, we also used a quantitative survey that received over 50 responses from smaller shareholders. Our team was very careful to make sure our phone survey was diverse and a fair representation of the client’s full investor constituency.

Our results were summarized through three distinct deliverables. The first included 60 pages that identified each of our phone participants and outlined our complete conversations. The second document examined all of our quantitative results in full. Our final document was a board ready PowerPoint that combined the results of our two surveys. Our analysis included strategic discussions around the IR messaging that was working, components that received mixed feedback, and areas that needed immediate improvement. Lastly, our report offered a few key suggestions to improve the client’s overall approach to its IR efforts and its materials/core messaging platform. One year later, the client has appreciated roughly 30% and a subsequent survey of investors have shown significant progress in the overall understanding of the Company’s core investment thesis.

Situation

Alpha’s client was considering a significant one-time dividend at a time when the stock had been under pressure for several quarters. Further, the stock had significant inside ownership and our senior counselors were concerned that the Street might misconstrue this shareholder friendly action incorrectly.

Solution

Alpha IR proceeded to query several of our clients' influential shareholders before the Board of Directors was set for a final vote. We were very careful not to hint that this action was imminent, and thus our team developed a sophisticated set of questions around investors’ expectations for free cash flow. We held seven conversations with key shareholders over a two day span and packaged these conversations, as well as a detailed financial analysis on the historical impact of one-time dividends into a PowerPoint package that was delivered to the board. This work helped the Board determine the scale and scope of the dividend, and also supported a broader communications need around future uses of cash.

Situation

Alpha’s client was a mature mid-cap company operating in a consolidating industry. As a result, sell-side coverage was fairly minimal. The Company had gone public in a non-traditional way, and its resulting shareholder base was primarily composed of special situation hedge funds. Lastly, the Company’s IR messaging resembled that of a private company and lacked any real investor hook.

Solution

Alpha IR’s challenge was to rebuild the overall IR messaging platform and subsequently develop a long-term strategic targeting platform that would help transition the Company’s shares into long-term supportive shareholder’s hands. Using our proprietary IR Audit methodology, our team delivered several high level projects over a three month time frame that supported the future foundation of the IR plan; which included a perception study, a targeting study for both buy-side and sell-side, and a peer messaging review. Alpha also developed the Company’s first ever approach to quantitative guidance that helped investors better understand the Company’s strong free cash flow position and optionality. Lastly, we developed an IR plan that was submitted to the board of directors and has been in place for over two years.

One year after the implementation of the new messaging, guidance and IR plan, our client’s stock appreciated by 200%. We welcomed Fidelity as a top new shareholder and transitioned out nearly all of the special situation investors, replacing them with long-term value and GARP-oriented investors. We remain a true partner for this client and continue to focus every day on taking their IR program to the next level.

Situation

Alpha’s client was a recent mid-cap spinoff in an industry that was about to undergo significant growth. This client had used a purely quantitative and software-based approach in the past, and wanted a more sophisticated and tailored answer to its targeting needs. Most importantly, the client wanted a targeting solution that would maximize its IR efforts and reduce management’s time spent at conferences and non-deal roadshows (NDRs).

Solution

Alpha IR first held a series of due diligence sessions with the leadership team to better understand the Company’s three-to-five year plan and projected growth strategy. Next, we evaluated the composition of the current shareholder base and its ability to support that vision. Several current growth investors were identified and prioritized as having significant buying potential (i.e. “low hanging fruit”), while others were identified as being at-risk of future sale based on being a poor fit for the future vision. Lastly, Alpha IR used its proprietary targeting methodology that included both quantitative and qualitative inputs to identify over 50 institutional shareholders with a long-term focus. Our team pre-qualified each of these targets to determine their overall level of interest in the stock and to identify the key contact(s)/fund(s) at each institution.

The year-end feedback from our client was extremely favorable, as they acknowledged that it was the first year they didn’t see the same investors at every conference or waste significant time with small hedge fund friends of the sell-side. Most of the new buyers of the stock one year later were members of Alpha’s targeting list. Our client’s confidence in Alpha’s program led to a long-term partnership which we’re grateful for today.

Situation

Alpha’s client was a mid-cap niche technology player, who was a true thought leader in both the tech and telecomm communities. One of the goals of our co-developed IR plan was to drive increased investment by tech-specific investors (i.e. San Francisco based investors). Alpha IR reached out to a handful of the client’s sell-side constituency, including one that was San Francisco-based. Most suggested several of the smaller-hedge funds in the region, most of which had 200+% turnover. Therefore, we suggested that our team drive the Company’s visibility in the region by setting up an Alpha IR NDR.

Solution

Alpha IR was tasked with developing a plan that would capture San Francisco tech investors’ attention. Our strategy was to drive a long only non-deal road show that would last a day and half. With a two week time frame, we identified and pre-qualified the best fit investors in the region and engaged them in pre-pitch conversations. Most of our targets received a factsheet that our team developed in-house, and all needed our team to “sell the story” as this Company was somewhat off Wall Street’s radar.

As a result of our sophisticated knowledge of the buy-side, our team was able to arrange for seven one-on-one meetings for the management team with long-only potential shareholders. None of these institutions had ever met with the Company in the past. These encompassed some of the best and most influential institutions in the region, including Cap-Re, Dodge & Cox, Franklin, and Delaware Investments. We also helped satisfy the appetite of the client’s sell-side by organizing a group breakfast that they were allowed to invite their smaller clients, which was well attended. The management team called it, “One of the best of NDR’s we’ve ever had!” Six-months later, we started to see some initial buying out of several members who were at the event.

Situation

Alpha’s client was a niche small-cap company that had recently undergone a management transition and restructuring plan. The shareholder base included a combination of legacy investors (one of which had filed a 13D) and ten new activist-oriented holders (two of which had filed 13Gs). These new investors were led by one primary activist who had courted others to the stock.

Solution

Alpha IR first initiated several conversations with these new activist followers and learned that most had very limited knowledge of the Company or its investment thesis. Our client was not interested in being consolidated and believed there was a significant opportunity to generate shareholder value if given time. Alpha worked with the new executive team to better articulate both the strategic goals of the restructuring, as well as the milestones that the Street could use to measure their implementation success. Through this process, several messaging tweaks were needed to provide qualitative direction and guidance, while keeping investors focused on the long-term path. Alpha IR also participated in several board discussions around the use of a poison pill, a staggered board, and other defense mechanisms.

As a result of Alpha’s communication strategy, the primary activist exited the stock within two quarters. Most of the naïve activist followers exited soon thereafter. Our focus has now turned to rebuilding the shareholder base with higher quality shareholders and our team has already been instrumental in securing ownership by long-term value-oriented investors like Royce, Tocqueville, and Kennedy.

Situation

Alpha’s client was a small-cap company, spun-off by a large-cap concern. This spinoff was highly unusual as it included a merger with another entity on the day the Company IPO’d. While the executive team had some public-company experience, it was not very deep.

Solution

Alpha IR was hired four months before the spinoff and was focused on the development of both a tactical and strategic IR plan. Tactically, our team helped develop the investor website and identify/manage many of the future vendors that our client would retain for newswire, conference call, surveillance, IR website and other services. Strategically, we focused on broad investor visibility and developed several strategies to handle the anticipated investor churn.

In terms of the sell-side, Alpha IR drove a pre-public analyst day that hosted over 15 potential sell-side analysts that could initiate coverage of the stock. We also helped manage the non-deal roadshow with spinoff investors as well as high priority targets. Lastly, we periodically followed-up with all Wall Street participants to attain feedback from the Street, which was used to help better educate and coach the executive team.

Following a highly successful debut, our client received more sell-side coverage than we initially expected and we are in the process of shifting large-cap holders of the stock into long-term small-cap shareholders hands.

Situation

Alpha’s client was a high-growth small-cap Company that had never held an Investor Day. While its products were well known, the stock had fallen off Wall Street’s radar. Further, the client had a new product in development that could positively alter the future growth profile of the Company and wanted to better articulate its three-to-five year vision to both current and prospective shareholders.

Solution

Alpha IR was hired to support the in-house IRO and the executive team roughly three months prior to the event. Our team helped drive the event both tactically and strategically, and even identified and managed all vendors for the event (hotel, IT, webcast, etc.). More importantly, we drove the strategic messaging of the event. These messaging decisions were driven by an initial pre-event perception study during which our team asked investors to identify the components of the story they found most confusing. The results were delivered to our client, along with basic disclosure and investor day training for all divisional heads that had no prior experience with Wall Street.

Alpha also helped the client better articulate their three-to-five year vision, inclusive of a guidance framework that we developed. Given the uncertain nature of the Company’s new product, this guidance platform included a pessimistic, middle of the road, and optimistic set of forecasts, designed to better level set the Street’s expectations. This guidance has been instrumental in helping the client manage its sell-side analysts over the subsequent two years.

Using a perception study post event, our team validated the success of Investor Day and proved Alpha’s communication strategy was effective. The Company incorporated the content that Alpha created for the event in all of their outgoing communication and is still using it today. We are looking forward to holding the second analyst day soon to provide a comprehensive update on the Company’s progress, roughly two years after our last event.