Critical Survey: NIC (EGOV) and Huron Consulting Group (HURN)

NIC (NASDAQ: EGOV) and Huron Consulting Group (NASDAQ:HURN) are both small-cap computer and technology companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their institutional ownership, valuation, dividends, analyst recommendations, risk, profitability and earnings.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

92.9% of NIC shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 90.9% of Huron Consulting Group shares are held by institutional investors. 4.1% of NIC shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 2.7% of Huron Consulting Group shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Dividends

NIC pays an annual dividend of $0.32 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.0%. Huron Consulting Group does not pay a dividend. NIC pays out 41.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and target prices for NIC and Huron Consulting Group, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
NIC 0 5 0 0 2.00
Huron Consulting Group 0 1 3 0 2.75

NIC presently has a consensus target price of $17.25, suggesting a potential upside of 5.18%. Huron Consulting Group has a consensus target price of $52.00, suggesting a potential upside of 8.22%. Given Huron Consulting Group’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Huron Consulting Group is more favorable than NIC.

Risk & Volatility

NIC has a beta of 0.47, meaning that its share price is 53% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Huron Consulting Group has a beta of 0.12, meaning that its share price is 88% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares NIC and Huron Consulting Group’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
NIC $336.51 million 3.24 $51.61 million $0.77 21.30
Huron Consulting Group $807.74 million 1.34 -$170.11 million $2.15 22.35

NIC has higher earnings, but lower revenue than Huron Consulting Group. NIC is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Huron Consulting Group, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Profitability

This table compares NIC and Huron Consulting Group’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
NIC 16.52% 33.16% 20.45%
Huron Consulting Group -2.79% 8.02% 3.91%

Summary

NIC beats Huron Consulting Group on 9 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About NIC

NIC Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides digital government services that enable governments to use technology to provide various services to businesses and citizens in the United States. The company's outsourced portal business enters into long-term contracts with state and local governments to design, build, and operate Internet-based and enterprise-wide portals on their behalf. Its portals consist of Websites and applications that enable businesses and citizens to access government information online and secure transactions, such as applying for a permit, retrieving government records, or filing a government-mandated form or report. The company's portal service offerings include motor vehicle driver history record retrieval; vehicle title, lien, and registration; motor vehicle inspections; temporary vehicle tags; driver's license renewal; hunting and fishing licenses; health professional license services; professional license renewal; business registrations and renewals; secretary of state business searches; Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) searches and filings; limited criminal history searches; court services; vital records; income and property tax payments; and payment processing products and services. Its software & services business provides software development and payment processing services to state and local governments, as well as federal agencies. In addition, the company develops and manages the pre-employment screening program for motor carriers using transaction-based business model. Further, it offers consulting, application development, and portal management services to governments. NIC Inc. was founded in 1991 and is based in Olathe, Kansas.

About Huron Consulting Group

Huron Consulting Group Inc., a professional services firm, provides advisory, technology, and analytic solutions in the United States and internationally. Its Healthcare segment provides advisory services in the areas of strategy, care transformation, financial and operational performance, technology and analytics, and leadership development to national and regional hospitals, integrated health systems, academic medical centers, community hospitals, and medical groups. The company's Education segment offers management consulting and technology solutions related to business and technology strategy, financial management, operational and organizational effectiveness, research administration, and regulatory compliance for higher education institutions and academic medical centers. Its Business Advisory segment provides enterprise performance management, enterprise resource planning, business intelligence and analytics, customer relationship management, and data management services; and capital advisory, transaction advisory, operational improvement, restructuring and turnaround, valuation, and dispute advisory services. This segment also provides strategic solutions in the areas of R&D and product strategy commercial segmentation, corporate and financial strategy, compliance and operations, reimbursement and access strategy, commercial contracting strategy, fair market value analysis, lifecycle management, litigation and investigations, government pricing and transparency reporting, auditing and monitoring, and business process improvement. The company serves healthcare, education, pharmaceutical and medical device, financial services, energy and utilities, retail, aerospace, automotive, technology, telecommunications, consumer products, governmental, metals and mining, engineering and construction, hospitality and gaming, logistics, and manufacturing industries. Huron Consulting Group Inc. was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

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