CHICAGO, June 12, 2012 – William Blair & Company, L.L.C. will host a record number of companies (more than 220) at its 32nd Annual Growth Stock Conference, a three-day event beginning today and attracting more than 800 clients from around the world.
The conference, hosted by the firm’s Institutional Equity Research, Sales, and Trading Group and held at the Four Seasons Hotel, will feature companies spanning the market-cap spectrum in six sectors—consumer; global industrial infrastructure; global services; financial services and technology; healthcare; and technology, media, and communications.
Among the prominent industry leaders scheduled to present this week are George S. Barrett, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cardinal Health, Inc.; Montgomery F. Moran, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.; J. Phillip Holloman, President and Chief Operating Officer of Cintas Corporation; Nigel Travis, Chief Executive Officer and President of Dunkin’ Donuts; Christine Day, Chief Executive Officer of lululemon athletica inc.; Martin P. Slark, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Molex Incorporated; Joe Kennedy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pandora Media, Inc.; Harold M. Messmer Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Robert Half International Inc.; and James T. Ryan, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of W.W. Grainger, Inc.
“Now is an opportune time for our firm to showcase our extensive experience and skill in researching the highest-caliber growth stocks,” said John R. Ettelson, the firm’s president and CEO. “We are deeply committed to providing our clients with sound and sustainable investment ideas as well as access to senior executives from high-quality companies, and our Annual Growth Stock Conference is the perfect forum to do so.”
John O’Toole, manager and director of the Equity Research Group, noted that the department’s 35 analysts cover more than 570 companies, a nearly 15% increase since our 2011 conference. Moreover, nearly 70% of the primary presenters at this year’s conference will come from the highest ranks of management (chairman, chief executive officer, president, or chief operating officer)—a long-standing hallmark of our conference.
“The record number of companies eager to participate in our firm’s signature event is a testament to our investment philosophy since the firm’s founding more than 75 years ago,” O’Toole said. “The depth, quality, and thoroughness of our research truly differentiate us in a crowded field.”
William Blair & Company equity research analysts recently received six "World's Top Analysts" from Financial Times/StarMine, and three analysts were recognized as the No. 1 stock picker in their industries. William Blair also received three "Best on the Street" awards in The Wall Street Journal's 20th annual analyst survey. Our firm’s analysts have now received a combined 14 "Best on the Street Awards" in the past three years.
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Current Ratings Distribution (as of 05/31/12)
Outperform (Buy): 60%
Market Perform (Hold): 32%
Underperform (Sell): 1%
Inv. Banking Relationships*
Outperform (Buy): 9%
Market Perform (Hold): 1%
Underperform (Sell): 0%
* Percentage of companies in each rating category that are investment banking clients, defined as companies for which William Blair has received compensation for investment banking services within the past 12 months.
Stock ratings, price targets, and valuation methodologies: William Blair & Company, L.L.C. uses a three-point system to rate stocks. Individual ratings and price targets (where used) reflect the expected performance of the stock relative to the broader market (generally the S&P 500, unless otherwise indicated) over the next 12 months. The assessment of expected performance is a function of near-, intermediate-, and long-term company fundamentals, industry outlook, confidence in earnings estimates, valuation (and our valuation methodology), and other factors. Outperform (O) – stock expected to outperform the broader market over the next 12 months; Market Perform (M) – stock expected to perform approximately in line with the broader market over the next 12 months; Underperform (U) – stock expected to underperform the broader market over the next 12 months; not rated (NR) – the stock is not currently rated. The valuation methodologies used to determine price targets (where used) include (but are not limited to) price-to-earnings multiple (P/E), relative P/E (compared with the relevant market), P/E-to-growth-rate (PEG) ratio, market capitalization/revenue multiple, enterprise value/EBITDA ratio, discounted cash flow, and others.
Company Profile: The William Blair research philosophy is focused on quality growth companies. Growth companies by their nature tend to be more volatile than the overall stock market. Company profile is a fundamental assessment, over a longer-term horizon, of the business risk of the company relative to the broader William Blair universe. Factors assessed include: 1) durability and strength of franchise (management strength and track record, market leadership, distinctive capabilities); 2) financial profile (earnings growth rate/consistency, cash flow generation, return on investment, balance sheet, accounting); 3) other factors such as sector or industry conditions, economic environment, confidence in long-term growth prospects, etc. Established Growth (E) – Fundamental risk is lower relative to the broader William Blair universe; Core Growth (C) – Fundamental risk is approximately in line with the broader William Blair universe; Aggressive Growth (A) – Fundamental risk is higher relative to the broader William Blair universe.
The ratings, price targets (where used), valuation methodologies, and company profile assessments reflect the opinion of the individual analyst and are subject to change at any time.
The compensation of the research analyst is based on a variety of factors, including performance of his or her stock recommendations; contributions to all of the firm's departments, including asset management, corporate finance, institutional sales, and retail brokerage; firm profitability; and competitive factors.
Our salespeople, traders, and other professionals may provide oral or written market commentary or trading strategies—to our clients and our trading desks—that are contrary to opinions expressed in this research. Our asset management and trading desks may make investment decisions that are inconsistent with recommendations or views expressed in this report. We will from time to time have long or short positions in, act as principal in, and buy or sell the securities referred to in this report. Our research is disseminated primarily electronically, and in some instances in printed form. Electronic research is simultaneously available to all clients. This research is for our clients only. No part of this material may be copied or duplicated in any form by any means or redistributed without the prior written consent of William Blair & Company, L.L.C.
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