Acacia Research Corporation (NASDAQ: ACTG) and Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (NYSE:RBA) are both business services companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, earnings, dividends, institutional ownership, profitability, analyst recommendations and risk.

Profitability

This table compares Acacia Research Corporation and Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Acacia Research Corporation -25.64% -1.06% -0.95%
Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers 8.96% 14.72% 6.14%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for Acacia Research Corporation and Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Acacia Research Corporation 1 0 1 0 2.00
Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers 2 5 4 0 2.18

Acacia Research Corporation presently has a consensus price target of $6.50, indicating a potential upside of 68.83%. Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers has a consensus price target of $31.90, indicating a potential upside of 5.49%. Given Acacia Research Corporation’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Acacia Research Corporation is more favorable than Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Acacia Research Corporation and Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Acacia Research Corporation $111.94 million 1.74 $13.80 million ($0.57) -6.75
Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers $566.33 million 5.72 $203.46 million $0.47 64.34

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers has higher revenue and earnings than Acacia Research Corporation. Acacia Research Corporation is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Dividends

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers pays an annual dividend of $0.68 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.2%. Acacia Research Corporation does not pay a dividend. Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers pays out 144.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers has raised its dividend for 14 consecutive years.

Risk & Volatility

Acacia Research Corporation has a beta of 1.17, meaning that its stock price is 17% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers has a beta of 0.57, meaning that its stock price is 43% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

70.9% of Acacia Research Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 96.1% of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers shares are held by institutional investors. 2.8% of Acacia Research Corporation shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 0.4% of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers beats Acacia Research Corporation on 12 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Acacia Research Corporation

Acacia Research Corporation, through its subsidiaries, invests in, licenses and enforces patented technologies. The Company’s operating subsidiaries partner with inventors and patent owners, applying their legal and technology expertise to patent assets to unlock the financial value in their patented inventions. The Company’s operating subsidiaries assist patent owners with the prosecution and development of their patent portfolios, the protection of their patented inventions from unauthorized use, the generation of licensing revenue from users of their patented technologies and, where necessary, with the enforcement against unauthorized users of their patented technologies through the filing of patent infringement litigation. The Company’s operating subsidiaries own or control the rights to multiple patent portfolios, which include the United States patents and certain foreign counterparts, covering technologies used in a range of industries.

About Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers

Ritchie Bros Auctioneers Inc is a Canada-based holding company. The Company is an industrial auctioneer and used equipment distributor, selling used equipment and other assets. Its segments include Core Auction, which is a network of auction locations that conduct live, unreserved auctions with both on-site and online bidding, and Other, which includes its EquipmentOne and Mascus International Holding B.V. (Mascus) online services. EquipmentOne is an online marketplace that equipment sellers can navigate independently. EquipmentOne facilitates the completion of sales through a settlement process managed by EquipmentOne that protects both the seller and the buyer. Mascus is an online equipment listing service for used heavy machinery and trucks. It offers subscriptions to equipment dealers, brokers, exporters and equipment manufacturers to list equipment available for sale at a listed price. The Company, through Mascus, provides online advertising services, business tools and solutions.

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