Intersections (NASDAQ: INTX) and Essendant (NASDAQ:ESND) are both small-cap business services companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their profitability, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, risk, earnings, dividends and valuation.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and recommmendations for Intersections and Essendant, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Intersections 0 0 0 0 N/A
Essendant 0 2 0 0 2.00

Essendant has a consensus price target of $16.50, suggesting a potential upside of 40.78%. Given Essendant’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Essendant is more favorable than Intersections.

Volatility & Risk

Intersections has a beta of 0.72, indicating that its share price is 28% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Essendant has a beta of 1.17, indicating that its share price is 17% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Intersections and Essendant’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Intersections $165.65 million 0.51 -$18.41 million ($1.35) -2.60
Essendant $5.19 billion 0.08 $147.50 million ($4.08) -2.87

Essendant has higher revenue and earnings than Intersections. Essendant is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Intersections, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Dividends

Essendant pays an annual dividend of $0.56 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.8%. Intersections does not pay a dividend. Essendant pays out -13.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Profitability

This table compares Intersections and Essendant’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Intersections -19.25% -421.25% -56.54%
Essendant -2.87% 5.75% 1.93%

Institutional and Insider Ownership

25.2% of Intersections shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 94.2% of Essendant shares are held by institutional investors. 67.0% of Intersections shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 1.6% of Essendant shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

Essendant beats Intersections on 10 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Intersections

Intersections Inc. uses data to enable consumers reduce risk through subscription services. The Company’s operating segments include Personal Information Services, Insurance and Other Consumer Services, and Bail Bonds Industry Solutions. The Company’s Personal Information Services business segment focuses on helping consumers understand, monitor, manage and protect against the risks associated with third parties misusing their personal information and violating their privacy. The Company’s Insurance and Other Consumer Services business segment focuses on helping consumers use insurance and other services to manage various personal risks and achieve personal goals. The Company’s Bail Bonds Industry Solutions business segment focuses on automating the bail bonds industry. The Company offers IDENTITY GUARD portfolio of services. The Company’s insurance products are sold and administered pursuant to contracts with insurance companies.

About Essendant

Essendant Inc. (Essendant) is a wholesale distributor of workplace items. The Company’s product portfolio includes Janitorial, Foodservice and Breakroom Supplies (JanSan), Technology Products, Traditional Office Products, Industrial Supplies, Cut Sheet Paper Products, Automotive Products and Office Furniture. It operates principally within the United States, with additional operations in Canada and Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As of December 31, 2016, the Company provided access to over 22,000 items in these lines: janitorial supplies (cleaners and cleaning accessories), breakroom items (food and beverage products), foodservice consumables (such as disposable cups, plates and utensils), safety and security items, and paper and packaging supplies. As of December 31, 2016, the Company provided access to approximately 11,000 items, including imaging supplies, data storage, digital cameras, computer accessories and computer hardware items, such as printers and other peripherals.

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