Friday, February 7, 2014

What We're Reading ~ Hedge Fund Links 2/7/14

Robert Karr's Joho Capital shuts down [II Alpha]

Klarman holding 50% cash amid scarce value [ValueWalk]

Scout Capital closing as co-founders views differ on future [WSJ]

Top hedge fund bets on Danish debt crisis [Independent]

Activist investor takes aim at Helen of Troy [Dealbook]

Ackman still bearish on Herbalife as analyst leaves [Dealbook]

Baupost Group had best year since 2009 [Boston]

How exactly should we benchmark hedge funds? [FT]

Hedge fund's bet on Alibaba values company at up to $200bn [CNBC]

Elliott Management: RMBS & CRE up, gold & volatility plays down [HF Intelligence]

Meet Jesse Cohn, the hedge fund investor laying siege to Silicon Valley [Forbes]

Jim Chanos: "we're still short Caterpillar" [WSJ]

2013 periodic table of hedge fund returns [ai-cio]

Tiger Global to invest up to $500 million in Brazil online retailer [HedgeWorld]

Succession exposes risks for hedge funds [FT]

Hedge funds managers are roiling the clubby art market [WSJ]

John Thaler's JAT Capital Starts Angie's List Stake

John Thaler's hedge fund JAT Capital has disclosed a new stake in Angie's List (ANGI), per a 13G filed with the SEC.  JAT has revealed they own 5.5% of ANGI with over 3.1 million shares.  The filing was required due to activity on February 3rd.

Angie's List has been a popular short target among other hedge funds, so it seems they've taken a variant viewpoint.  JAT's primary focus has always been on the TMT sectors and Thaler launched his fund after previously working at Shumway Capital.

Per Google Finance, Angie's List is "operates a consumer-driven service for members to research, hire, rate and review local professionals for critical needs, such as home, health care and automotive services."

York Capital Reduces Gilat Satellite Networks Position

Jamie Dinan's hedge fund firm York Capital has filed an amended 13D with the SEC regarding their position in Gilat Satellite Networks (GILT).  Per the filing, York has disclosed a 14.3% ownership stake in the company with just over 6 million shares of GILT.

This means they've reduced their position size by over 2.1 million shares since the end of the third quarter.  The filing was required due to activity on February 3rd. 

The reason for the transaction is that York entered into an agreement with FIMI Opportunity Fund to sell them over 2.1 million shares for over $10.5 million.

York has been a longtime holder of Gilat, previously owning debt that they converted into stock.

Per Google Finance, Gilat Satellite Networks is "a provider of Internet protocol (IP)-based digital satellite communication and networking products and services. Gilat designs, produces and markets very small aperture terminals (VSATs) and related network equipment, such as power amplifiers and antennas. The Company operates in three businesses: Gilat Worldwide, which consists of Gilat International and Gilat Peru & Colombia; Spacenet Inc. (Spacenet), and Wavestream Corporation (Wavestream)."

For more on this hedge fund, we posted up a rare interview with Jamie Dinan where he talked about York's positions.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

London Value Investor Conference: Discount Code For Our Readers

Market Folly has secured a limited number of discounted tickets to the forthcoming London Value Investor Conference 2014, which will be supporting School Aid

This Conference is the largest gathering of Value Investors in Europe and has some of the world's leading investors speaking, including such well-known names as Mason Hawkins, Jonathan Ruffer, Donald Yacktman, Mason Morfit and Jon Moulton.  It is also a showcase for less well known and smaller firms.

£100 discount code: MARKETFOLLY22MAY

Click here to register

Event Details

When: Thursday, 22nd of May 2014
Where: Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre


- Mason Hawkins, Southeastern Asset Management
- Jonathan Ruffer, Ruffer LLP
- Donald Yacktman, Yacktman Asset Management
- Mason Morfit, ValueAct Capital
- Jon Moulton, Better Capital
- David Samra, Artisan Partners
- Aled Smith, M&G Global Leaders Fund
- Richard Rooney, Burgundy Asset Management
- Charles Heenan, Kennox Asset Management
- Philip Best and Marc Saint John Webb, Argos Investment Manager
- Andrew Hollingworth, Holland Advisors

The speakers will provide valuable insights into the methods and approaches that have made them successful, comment on the current investment climate and offer specific investment ideas.  A key feature of the conference is the 10-15 minutes dedicated to audience Q&A for each speaker, led by Richard Oldfield and David Shapiro.

Here's a quick video overview of last year's conference if you missed it:

In order to claim your special £100 discount on this conference, please use the code MARKETFOLLY22MAY when signing up here.

Senator Investment Group's Thesis on Air Products & Chemicals (Q4 Letter)

Alex Klabin and Doug Silverman's hedge fund Senator Investment Group has built a sizable position in Air Products & Chemicals (APD) in the fourth quarter, according to their Q4 letter.

We've previously highlighted how Bill Ackman's Pershing Square is long APD and now Senator has bought a stake as well.

Senator's Air Products & Chemicals Thesis

The hedge fund likes that the company is involved in an attractive business with significant barriers to entry and oligopoly-like qualities.  There's 5 suppliers of industrial gasses: APD, Praxair, Linde and Air Liquide, and Airgas.  

Senator writes,

"Air Products trades at 18.1x 2014 earnings, but only 12.7x recurring free cash flow, a more relevant metric given the stable, cash generative nature of the business.  Moreover, for the last few years, Air Products' earnings and cash flow potential have been depressed by large investments in growth projects that have yet to impact financial results."

They like that industrial gas businesses see the majority of their revenues linked to long-term contracts.

Senator notes Pershing's involvement as a positive as the company has ousted the CEO and added new directors to the board.  Senator thinks a new CEO could potentially be announced during the first quarter and will put in place a restructuring plan. 

They feel the company's cost cutting opportunity to be around $400 million or so ("5% of its cost base and 27% of trailing EBIT of $1.5 billion") and point to how competitor Praxair went through something similar in 2000.  The hedge fund's base case for Air Products assumes that a new CEO can capture half of that opportunity.

Senator believes the company could also reap the benefits of the capital investments they made in the past few years as plants come online.  They see $175 million of incremental EBIT from this by 2016, as well as $450 million of increment EBIT opportunity from 'unutilized' merchant gas sales.  Senator estimates earnings growth of 20% in both 2015/16.

Senator concludes,

"A new CEO, a focused board and a large, constructive shareholder will very likely bring about other value maximizing moves, such as the sale, spin or MLP conversion of Air Products' hydrogen pipelines and additional cash returns to shareholders through issuances of project-level debt. In terms of downside, we think the 2014 guidance from the current management is reasonable and translates into $8.70 of free cash flow per share.  In our view, it's hard to envision the shares trading for less than 11x FCF (or 10% downside from current levels) given the defensive characteristics of the business and the imminent announcement of a new CEO.  Over the next two years, we believe Air Products' shares could trade to 15x our $12 free cash flow estimate or $180 per share, implying close to 70% upside in a large cap, high-quality business."

For more on this hedge fund, we've posted some of Senator's other recent portfolio activity here.

Tybourne Capital Raises Mulberry Group Stake

Eashwar Krishnan’s hedge fund Tybourne Capital Management has disclosed a position in London listed Mulberry Group (LON: MUL).  Due to trading on January 29th, Tybourne now hold 4.3% of Mulberry’s voting rights. 

Mulberry Group is not a new position, as Tybourne appeared on Mulberry Group’s list of large shareholders with a 1.08% stake back in November of 2013.  Tybourne have clearly been out buying more shares since then. 

About Tybourne Capital

Eashwar Krishnan spent 12 years as a Managing Director and Senior Analyst at Lone Pine Capital. In 2007, he moved to Hong Kong to set up and manage Lone Pine’s operation in Asia.

He set up his own fund, Tybourne Capital, in 2012. Tybourne focuses mostly on equities in the consumer, financial and TMT sectors in Asia. Tybourne’s flagship fund returned 16.04% in 2013, its first full year of operation.

For more on Tybourne, we've previously posted up Krishnan's investment ideas from the Sohn London Conference.

About Mulberry Group

Per Google Finance, Mulberry Group is "a United Kingdom-based holding company. The Company is engaged in the design and manufacture or sourcing of luxury accessories, clothing and footwear and their subsequent sale through wholesale channels or its own stores and concessions in home and export markets. It operates in two segments: the Retail business and Design business. The Retail segment is engaged in the sale of Mulberry branded fashion accessories, clothing and footwear through a number of shops and department store concessions. The design segment includes brand management, marketing, product design, manufacture, sourcing and wholesale distribution for the Mulberry brand. It invests in design and development in order to develop and market accessory, clothing and footwear collections for Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter each year."

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What We're Reading ~ Analytical Links 2/5/13

M&A world: stacks of corporate cash looking for deals [All About Alpha]

Taking money off the table to diversify emotionally [Abnormal Returns]

Looking at annual trends in shareholder activism [Activist Insight]

Observations of individual stock returns 1983-2006 [Longboard]

Time Warner breaks out HBO results [Barrons]

Will Valeant overdose on acquisitions? [Herb Greenberg]

FCC chief tells Sprint chair he is skeptical of T-Mobile deal [Reuters]

Cable TV mogul looks to add Formula 1 to sports bag [NYPost]

Taking a look at Kinder Morgan [Glenn Chan]

Did Google really lose on its original Motorola deal? [Dealbook]

Nestle looking at selling even more assets? [Reuters]

Top destinations for foreign investment dollars [Business Insider]

Corvex & Soroban Expect to Increase Williams Companies Stake (13D Filing)

Keith Meister's activist hedge fund firm Corvex Management and Eric Mandelblatt's Soroban Capital have jointly filed an amended 13D with the SEC regarding their position in Williams Companies (WMB). 

Corvex/Soroban To Increase Williams Companies Stake

The filing details that the Hart Scott Rodino waiting period has expired and as such, "Corvex intend to promptly exercise their deeply in-the-money physically settled call options and Corvex and Soroban also expect to acquire additional shares, further increasing their beneficial ownership stake."

Per the 13D, the hedge funds have disclosed a 7.14% ownership stake in WMB with exposure to over 48.8 million shares.

That figure doesn't include their cash-settled swaps and options regarding an additional 19.2 million shares, so their aggregate exposure to the name can rise as high as 9.96% (with 68 million shares). And now we get word that they're likely to buy more.

Seeking Board Seats As Well

The filing indicates that the hedge funds want Mandelblatt and Meister to join the company's board, but they haven't been able to come to an agreement with the company.

We've previously posted about their Williams Companies stake earlier this year.

Per Google Finance, Williams Companies is "an energy infrastructure company focused on connecting North America’s hydrocarbon resource plays to markets for natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs), and olefins. Its operations span from the deepwater Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian oil sands. It operates in three segments: Williams Partners, Midstream Canada & Olefins and Other. Its interstate gas pipeline and domestic midstream interests are held through its investment in Williams Partners L.P. (WPZ). It owns the general-partner interest and a 70% limited-partner interest in WPZ. Williams also owns a Canadian midstream and domestic olefins production business, which processes oil sands off-gas and produces olefins for petrochemical feedstocks." 

For more additional recent portfolio activity from Corvex, click here.

Baupost Group Increases Idenix Pharmaceuticals Stake

Seth Klarman's hedge fund firm Baupost Group has increased its stake in Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX) per an amended 13D and Form 4 filed with the SEC.

Per the filings, Baupost has disclosed a 35.38% ownership stake in IDIX with over 53.3 million shares.  This means they've added to their position size by more than 16.4 million shares since November when they also added to their Idenix stake.

The Form 4 details that Baupost acquired those shares at a price of $6.5 on January 31st.  This was part of a registered direct offering from the company that Baupost took part in.  They are the company's largest shareholder.

Per Google Finance, Idenix Pharmaceuticals is "a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of drugs for the treatment of human viral diseases with operations in the United States and France."

You can view other recent portfolio activity from Baupost here.

Odey Adds to Epistem Holdings Position

James Hanbury's Odey Absolute Return hedge fund has more than doubled its stake in London listed Biotechnology support company, Epistem Holdings (LON:EHP).

Due to trading on January 31st, Hanbury's fund increased their holding from 6.46% to 15.51%.  The Odey group of funds often share positions but in this case it looks as though Hanbury's fund is the sole owner.

Hanbury's fund also disclosed a new position in Wolfson Microelectronics last week.

Per Google Finance, Epistem Holdings is "a holding company. The Company is engaged in  provision of services to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, covering pre-clinical   testing and gene biomarker and diagnostic services and the development of novel therapeutics for   partner companies. The trading activity of the Company is principally undertaken in the subsidiary   undertaking, Epistem Limited. The Company operates in three segments: Contract Research   Services, Personalized Medicine and Novel Therapies. Contract Research Services provides pre- clinical testing services. Personalized Medicine specializes in molecular measures of biological effect   and point of care molecular diagnostic testing. Novel Therapies is discovering key regulators of   epithelial stem cells.”

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lone Pine and SAC Capital Disclose Lumber Liquidators Stakes

Steve Mandel's hedge fund firm Lone Pine Capital and Steve Cohen's hedge fund turned family office SAC Capital have both filed 13G's with the SEC regarding Lumber Liquidators (LL).

Lone Pine has revealed a 7.9% ownership stake in LL with over 2.18 million shares.  The filing was required due to activity on January 23rd and is a brand new position for the hedge fund firm.

SAC Capital has revealed a 5% ownership stake in Lumber Liquidators with over 1.39 shares.  They previously owned a very small stake and they've boosted their holdings by over 1.3 million shares since the end of the third quarter. 

Per Google Finance, Lumber Liquidators is "retailer of hardwood flooring, and hardwood flooring enhancements and accessories. The Company offers an assortment of wood flooring, which includes prefinished domestic and exotic hardwoods, engineered hardwoods, unfinished hardwoods, bamboo, cork and laminates, as well as resilient flooring. Its flooring enhancements and accessories include moldings, noise-reducing underlay and adhesives. Lumber Liquidators and Bellawood are it brands. Its hardwood flooring products are available in various widths and lengths. It offers approximately 350 different flooring product stock-keeping units."

You can view additional portfolio activity from Lone Pine Capital here.

Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Trims Beam Position

Bill Ackman's hedge fund firm Pershing Square Capital Management has filed an amended 13D and a Form 4 with the SEC regarding their stake in Beam Inc (BEAM).

Per the 13D, Pershing Square has trimmed its position in BEAM by 7.3 million shares.  After the sale, they're still left with a stake of over 13.5 million shares, or 8.3% of the company.

The Form 4 indicates they sold 6 million shares on January 30th at a price of $83.28 and then they sold 1.3 million more shares on January 31st at a price of $83.36.

Beam Inc has received a $16 billion takeover offer from Suntory, or $83.50 in cash.  Perhaps Ackman is raising some cash to potentially deploy elsewhere since BEAM shares are now effectively a merger-arb play trading with a thin spread.

You can view more recent portfolio activity from Bill Ackman here.

Blue Ridge Capital Discloses Platform Specialty Products Position

John Griffin's hedge fund firm Blue Ridge Capital has filed a 13G with the SEC and disclosed a position in Platform Specialty Products (PAH).  Per the filing, Blue Ridge now owns 7.72% of the company with 8 million shares.

As we detailed previously, Bill Ackman also owns a PAH stake.  The company was formed to acquire companies and their first deal was MacDermid, a specialty chemicals manufacturer.  Shares of PAH are newly listed on the NYSE. 

It's unclear if Blue Ridge owned a stake in Platform Specialty Products before they listed on the NYSE like Ackman did.

You can view other recent portfolio activity from Blue Ridge Capital here.

Bridger Capital Boosts TG Therapeutics Stake

Roberto Mignone's hedge fund firm Bridger Capital has filed a 13G with the SEC regarding shares of TG Therapeutics (TGTX).  Per the filing, Bridger has disclosed a 7.1% ownership stake in TGTX with over 2.39 million shares.

This marks an increase of 894,132 shares since the end of the third quarter.  The filing was required due to activity on January 21st.

Per Yahoo Finance, TG Therapeutics is "a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, focuses on the acquisition, development, and commercialization of innovative and medically important pharmaceutical products for the treatment of cancer and other underserved therapeutic needs.."

Hound Partners Increases Carter's Position

Johnathan Auerbach's hedge fund Hound Partners has filed a 13G with the SEC regarding Carter's (CRI).  Per the filing, Hound has disclosed a 5.01% ownership stake in CRI with over 2.73 million shares.

This means they've added to their position by 289,815 shares since the end of the third quarter.  The filing was required due to activity on January 8th.

Hound is a 'Tiger Seed' as they were seeded by Tiger Management's Julian Robertson.  Fellow Tiger Seed hedge fund, Tiger Global, also added to their CRI stake a few months ago.

Per Google Finance, Carter's is "a branded marketer of apparel for babies and young children in the United States. The Company owns two brand names in the children’s apparel industry, Carter’s and OshKosh. Its Carter’s brand provides apparel for children sizes ranging from newborn to seven. OshKosh brand provides its line of apparel for children sizes newborn to 12. Its Carter’s, OshKosh, and related brands are sold to national department stores, chain and specialty stores and discount retailers."

Soros Fund Starts Polycom Stake

George Soros' hedge fund turned family office, Soros Fund Management, has filed a 13G with the SEC regarding Polycom (PLCM).  Per the filing, Soros now owns 6.95% of the company with over 9.4 million shares.

This is a brand new position for the firm and the filing was required due to portfolio activity on January 24th.

Per Google Finance, Polycom is "a provider of unified communications (UC) solutions and a provider of telepresence, video, voice and infrastructure solutions based on open standards. With Polycom RealPresence video and voice solutions, from infrastructure to endpoints, people all over the world can collaborate face-to-face without being in the same physical location. The Company has three operating segments: Americas, which consist of North, Central and Latin Americas; Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific. The products and solutions include Network Infrastructure, UC Group Systems and UC Personal Devices, which includes desktop video devices and wireless local area network products."

For more from Soros himself, head to George Soros' best investment advice.