Friday, March 9, 2018

Sohn Investment Conference New York 2018 & Investment Idea Contest

The 23rd annual Sohn Investment Conference New York is right around the corner.  It will be held on April 23rd at Lincoln Center from 8 AM to 7 PM.

The Sohn Conference Foundation in partnership with CNBC will see the event raise money for pediatric cancer research.  You can find out more about the event and register for it at their website:

Sohn Conference New York Speakers List

Hedge fund managers that will be sharing their latest investment ideas to benefit charity include:

- Larry Robbins, Glenview Capital
- David Einhorn, Greenlight Capital
- Nathaniel August, Mangrove Partners
- Scott Ferguson, Sachem Head Capital
- Jeff Gundlach, DoubleLine Capital
- Bill Gurley, Benchmark
- Glen Kacher, Light Street Capital
- John Khoury, Long Pond Capital
- Chamath Palihapitiya, Social Capital
- Li Ran, Half Sky Capital
- John Pfeffer, Pfeffer Capital
- Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Next Wave Sohn Speakers List

In the morning, prior to the main event, emerging managers will be pitching ideas in the fifth annual Next Wave Sohn series.  This year's speakers include:

- Alexander Captain, Cat Rock Capital
- Tim Garry, Pelorus Jack Capital
- Scott Goodwin, Diameter Capital
- Rashmi Kwatra, Sixteenth Street Capital
- Patrick McCaney, Oaktree Capital
- Oleg Nodelman, EcoR1 Capital

You can register for the Sohn Conference by clicking here.

Sohn Investment Idea Contest 2018

Submit your investment idea to be judged by a panel of Larry Robbins, Seth Klarman, Bill Ackman, David Einhorn, and Joel Greenblatt.

The winner will present his or her idea at the Sohn Conference to more than 3,000 attendees.  The contest supports the Foundation's mission to treat and cure pediatric cancer and is sponsored by GLG (Gerson Lehrman Group).

Contest Start Date: March 13th, 2018

Submission Deadline: 12pm EST on April 5th, 2018

Rules: Long or short marketable security with market cap above $1 billion.

Click here to enter the contest

Thursday, March 8, 2018

What We're Reading ~ 3/8/18

On interest rates and stock prices: it's complicated [Aswath Damodaran]

Why software is the ultimate business model [Medium]

Profile of JAB: the secretive company that pours America's coffee [WSJ]

Lessons from Spotify [Stratechery]

The state of the subscription economy [Forbes]

The economy is soaring & so is the deficit: that's a bad combination [538]

Ray Dalio sees 70% chance of recession before 2020 [Reuters]

Why Priceline or Expedia might be the next great hotel brand [Skift]

Pitch on Newell Brands [InvestPBA]

Persuasion as a skill and habit [First Round]

Fun little online game: can you run a struggling mall? [Bloomberg]

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Tiger Global Increases TransDigm Group Stake

Chase Coleman's hedge fund firm Tiger Global now owns 5.3% of TransDigm Group (TDG) with 2.78 million shares, per a 13G filed with the SEC.  The filing was made due to portfolio activity on March 6th.

This is up from the 1.91 million shares they previously owned at the end of 2017.  We've also posted about some other recent portfolio activity from Tiger here.

Per Google Finance, TransDigm Group is "a designer, producer and supplier of engineered aircraft components for use on commercial and military aircraft in service. The Company operates through three segments: Power & Control, Airframe and Non-aviation. The Power & Control segment includes operations that primarily develop, produce and market systems and components that provide power to or control power of the aircraft utilizing electronic, fluid, power and mechanical motion control technologies. The Airframe segment includes operations that primarily develop and market systems and components that are used in non-power airframe applications utilizing airframe and cabin structure technologies. The Non-aviation segment includes operations that primarily develop, produce and market products for non-aviation markets. Its product offerings include mechanical/electro-mechanical actuators and controls, engineered latching and locking devices, and seat belts and safety restraints."

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Lone Pine Capital Takes Exact Sciences Stake

Steve Mandel's hedge fund firm Lone Pine Capital has filed a 13G with the SEC regarding shares of Exact Sciences (EXAS).  Per the filing, Lone Pine now owns 5.3% of the company with over 6.39 million shares.

This is a newly revealed equity position for the firm.  The filing was made due to activity on February 23rd.

Per Google Finance, Exact Sciences is "a molecular diagnostics company. The Company focuses on the early detection and prevention of some forms of cancer. It offers a non-invasive screening test called Cologuard for the early detection of colorectal cancer and pre-cancer. Its Cologuard test is a stool-based deoxyribonucleic acid (sDNA) screening test, which utilizes a multi-target approach to detect deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and hemoglobin biomarkers associated with colorectal cancer and pre-cancer. The Cologuard test is intended for the qualitative detection of colorectal neoplasia associated DNA markers and for the presence of occult hemoglobin in human stool. It focuses on the development of additional tests for other types of cancer. It is developing a blood-based biomarker test to aid in the early detection of lung cancer in individuals with lung nodules discovered through a computerized tomography (CT) or other scan."

Makaira Partners Buys More Wesco Aircraft

Tom Bancroft's Makaira Partners has filed a Form 4 with the SEC regarding its stake in Wesco Aircraft Holdings (WAIR). 

Per the filing, Makaira acquired WAIR shares on March 1st and 5th.  In total, they bought 83,810 shares, with the bulk of the transaction coming at a weighted average price of $9.2699 per share. 

After these buys, they now own 10.81 million shares.  Bancroft and his family also own shares personally, according to the filing.  We've also previously detailed how Makaira was buying WAIR last August as well.

Per Google Finance, Wesco Aircraft Holdings is "a distributor and provider of supply chain management services to the global aerospace industry. The Company operates through two segments: North America and Rest of World. As of September 30, 2016, the Company supplied over 565,000 active stock-keeping units (SKUs), including C-class hardware, chemicals, electronic components, bearings, tools and machined parts. The Company's products include Hardware, Chemicals, Electronic Components, Bearings and Other Products. Its Services include Quality Assurance, Kitting and JIT Supply Chain Management. It caters to commercial, military and general aviation sectors, including the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their subcontractors, through which it supports various Western aircraft programs, and also sells products to airline-affiliated and independent maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) providers. It also services industrial customers."

Trian Partners Sells Some Mondelez

Nelson Peltz's activist firm Trian Fund Management has filed a Form 4 with the SEC regarding its stake in Mondelez (MDLZ).  Per the filing, Trian sold over 6.52 million shares of MDLZ at $43.67 on February 27th. 

The filing notes that this sale was "made for portfolio management purposes, including in connection with the liquidation of a fund" that acquired shares prior to the end of 2012.  After this sale, the firm still owns 35.96 million shares.

Per Google Finance, Mondelez is "a snack company. The Company manufactures and markets snack food and beverage products for consumers. It operates through four segments: Latin America, Asia, Middle East, and Africa (AMEA), Europe and North America. As of December 31, 2016, its brands spanned five product categories: Biscuits (including cookies, crackers and salted snacks); Chocolate; Gum and candy; Beverages (including coffee and powdered beverages), and Cheese and grocery. Itsportfolio includes various snack brands, including Nabisco, Oreo, LU and belVita biscuits; Cadbury, Milka, Cadbury Dairy Milk and Toblerone chocolate; Trident gum; Halls candy, and Tang powdered beverages. The Company sells its products to supermarket chains, wholesalers, supercenters, club stores, mass merchandisers, distributors, convenience stores, gasoline stations, drug stores, value stores and retail food outlets. As of December 31, 2016, it sold its products to consumers in approximately 165 countries. "

Monday, March 5, 2018

Starboard Value's Letter To Newell Brands Shareholders

Jeff Smith's activist investment firm Starboard Value has taken a stake in Newell Brands (NWL).  They've teamed up with former Jarden management players in order to force change at the company.

We also highlighted last week that Carl Icahn owns Newell shares as well, though it doesn't look like they've teamed up at this point.

Starboard is seeking to replace the board of directors and today released a letter to Newell shareholders.  They write,

"While these have been  extremely challenging times for Newell, we believe that the recent poor financial  and  stock  price  performance  has  created  a unique  opportunity  to  invest  in  an  iconic company and embark on a multi-year operational turnaround that can deliver outstanding returns to  shareholders."

Embedded below is Starboard Value's letter to Newell Brands shareholders:

You can download a .pdf copy here

ValueAct Capital Trims CBRE Group Stake, Adds To Trinity Industries

Jeff Ubben's activist firm ValueAct Capital has submitted two SEC filings recently.

ValueAct Trims CBRE Group Stake

First, in an amended 13D with the SEC regarding its stake in CBRE Group (CBG), ValueAct now reports they own 5.9% of the company with 19.91 million shares.

The 13D indicates ValueAct sold 5 million CBG shares on March 1st at a price of $45.78.  This is the third time they've made filings indicating they've reduced their position over the past 6 months.

Per Google Finance, CBRE Group is "a holding company that conducts all of its operations through its subsidiaries. The Company operates as a commercial real estate services and investment company. The Company operates through the segments: The Americas; Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); Asia Pacific; Global Investment Management, and Development Services. The Company provides commercial real estate services under the CBRE brand name, investment management services under the CBRE Global Investors brand name and development services under the Trammell Crow Company brand name. The Company's business is focused on commercial property, corporate facilities, project and transaction management, tenant/occupier and property/agency leasing, capital markets solutions (property sales, commercial mortgage brokerage, loan origination and servicing) real estate investment management, valuation, development services and proprietary research. "

ValueAct Adds To Trinity Industries Position

Second, ValueAct has also filed a Form 4 with the SEC regarding its position in Trinity Industries (TRN).  Per that filing, ValueAct acquired 950,000 TRN shares across February 28th, and March 1st and 2nd. 

They purchased shares around the $32.85 level and after these buys now own over 19.55 million TRN shares.

Per Google Finance, Trinity Industries is "a diversified industrial company that owns businesses providing products and services to the energy, chemical, agriculture, transportation and construction sectors. The Company's products and services include railcars and railcar parts; parts and steel components; the leasing, management and maintenance of railcars; highway products; construction aggregates; inland barges; structural wind towers; steel utility structures; storage and distribution containers, and trench shields and shoring products. The Company's segments include the Rail Group, Construction Products Group, Inland Barge Group, Energy Equipment Group, Railcar Leasing and Management Services Group, and All Other. Its All Other segment includes its captive insurance and transportation companies, and other peripheral businesses. It manufactures a line of railcars, including autorack cars, box cars, covered hopper cars, gondola cars, intermodal cars, open hopper cars and tank cars."

Lee Cooperman Buys More Ocwen Financial

Per a Form 4 filed with the SEC, Omega Advisors' Lee Cooperman has indicated he's purchased more shares of Ocwen Financial (OCN).  This is the second time this year he's purchased shares, as we highlighted his previous OCN buy as well.

In various trades on February 28th, March 1st, and March 2nd, Cooperman bought 539,798 shares in total at prices around $3.5872 for various Omega investment vehicles.

For more on this investor, be sure to also check out Cooperman's recent interview in the Graham & Doddsville newsletter.

Per Google Finance, Ocwen Financial is "a financial services holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, originates and services loans. The Company's segments include Servicing, Lending, and Corporate Items and Other. The Company's Servicing segment consists of its residential servicing business. The Company's Lending segment is focused on originating and purchasing conventional and government-insured residential forward and reverse mortgage loans. The Company's Corporate Items and Other segment includes revenues and expenses of Automotive Capital Services (ACS) and its other business activities. Its servicing clients include some of the financial institutions in the United States, including the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) and non-Agency residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) trusts. "