ICF International (NASDAQ: ICFI) and The Advisory Board (NASDAQ:ABCO) are both business services companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their profitability, earnings, institutional ownership, valuation, risk, analyst recommendations and dividends.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current recommendations and price targets for ICF International and The Advisory Board, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
ICF International 0 2 3 0 2.60
The Advisory Board 1 11 3 0 2.13

ICF International currently has a consensus target price of $60.67, suggesting a potential upside of 9.31%. The Advisory Board has a consensus target price of $51.44, suggesting a potential downside of 4.47%. Given ICF International’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, research analysts plainly believe ICF International is more favorable than The Advisory Board.

Risk & Volatility

ICF International has a beta of 0.89, suggesting that its share price is 11% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, The Advisory Board has a beta of 1.33, suggesting that its share price is 33% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares ICF International and The Advisory Board’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
ICF International $1.20 billion 0.87 $115.22 million $2.50 22.20
The Advisory Board $799.15 million 2.74 $120.83 million $2.69 20.02

The Advisory Board has higher revenue, but lower earnings than ICF International. The Advisory Board is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than ICF International, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

90.3% of ICF International shares are owned by institutional investors. 5.5% of ICF International shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 4.7% of The Advisory Board shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.


This table compares ICF International and The Advisory Board’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
ICF International 4.02% 10.25% 5.29%
The Advisory Board 13.65% 12.69% 3.30%


The Advisory Board beats ICF International on 7 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

ICF International Company Profile

ICF International, Inc. provides professional services and technology-based solutions to government and commercial clients, including management, technology, and policy consulting and implementation services. The Company’s services address four markets: energy, environment and infrastructure; health, education and social programs; safety and security, and consumer and financial. Its services include research and analytic services, assessment and advisory services, design and management services, solution identification and implementation services, and engagement services. The Company researches policy, industry and stakeholder issues, trends and behavior. The Company collects and analyzes various data to understand issues and options for its clients. The Company measures and evaluates results and their impact and, based on those assessments, the Company provides advice to its clients on how to navigate societal, market, business, communication and technology challenges.

The Advisory Board Company Profile

The Advisory Board Company is a provider of software and solutions to the healthcare and higher education industries. The Company offers subscription-based membership programs, software and data-enabled services. All of its programs are rooted in best practices and extends across four areas, including Best practices research, Technology, Data-enabled services and Consulting services. The best practices research and insight programs provide the foundation for all of its other programs. The Company offers technology analytics programs anchored by cloud-based software applications that surface performance improvement opportunities to accelerate progress. Through its consulting services, the Company provides on-the-ground support for performance improvement initiatives, as well as best practice professional management of areas of the hospital or medical group. The Company’s data-enabled services are primarily focused in the area of enrollment management.

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