Corsair Capital Anticipates Increased M&A Activity: Investor Letter ~ market folly

Friday, May 6, 2011

Corsair Capital Anticipates Increased M&A Activity: Investor Letter

Jay Petschek's Corsair Capital Management is one of our favorite funds to track. Corsair returned 6.0% net in the first quarter and has seen 15.5% annualized returns since inception in 1991. Their latest investor letter updates us on their market view and some of their positions.

They write, "The global economy’s strength leads us to believe companies will exit the sidelines with renewed confidence and deploy cash for strategic acquisitions. Market multiples remain below historic averages and the capital markets are open; companies can now afford to strategically position themselves to benefit from higher growth in emerging markets, gain access to resources, improve cost structures, and so forth."

Post Reorganization Companies

In the past, we've highlighted how John Paulson is betting on restructured equities. We've also detailed that Dan Loeb's portfolio holds post-reorg equities. Corsair also likes this play, but they've invested in names we haven't seen discussed in manager commentaries before.

In particular, Corsair owns Six Flags (SIX), which emerged from bankruptcy in May of last year. Their thesis is predicated on management's ability to reinvent the business model and improve profitability. They also point to large insider buying.

They also own Reader's Digest, another company recently emerged from bankruptcy. While some have left the publishing industry for dead, investors should be cognizant that the company "derives less than 8% of its earnings from the Reader's Digest Magazine."

Corsair's letter also details updates on their positions in Globe Specialty Metals (GSM), Innophos (IPHS), Keystone (KYCN), and Schweitzer-Mauduit (SWM). It also contains a detailed write-up on their new investment in IDT Corp (IDT), which they believe is worth $38-57 on a sum-of-the-parts valuation (a 50-130% return).

Embedded below is Corsair Capital Management's first quarter letter (email readers come to the site to read it):

Be sure to check out other hedge fund letters we've posted up, including David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital and Lee Ainslie's Maverick Capital.

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