Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What We're Reading ~ Analytical Links 2/25/15

An interview with The Outsiders author William Thorndike [Joe Magyer]

The extraordinary story of America's most successful industry [Morgan Housel]

Howard Marks: have an approach and hold it strongly [Reformed Broker]

Observations from a decade in the investment business [Wealth of Common Sense]

What is Yahoo worth after the Alibaba spinoff? [MicroFundy]

A look at CDK Global [Scuttlebutt Investor]

The problem with intuitive investing [Wealth of Common Sense]

Profile of SC Fundamental: old school investors [Barrons]

Calculating the odds of a Comcast / Time Warner Cable deal [NYTimes]

The high cost of falling prices [Economist]

Robert Shiller's CAPE ratio recently passed its 2007 high [Twitter]

Americans are borrowing more [WSJ]

Russia's Yandex takes on Google, Android [Barrons]

Millennials ditching their TV sets at a record rate [NYpost]

Capitalism's unlikely heroes: activist investors [Economist]

Profile of one of the most important people at Apple: Jonathan Ive [New Yorker]

Amazon bought this man's company, now he's coming for them [Bloomberg]

Netflix's long-term view [Netflix]

Kingstown Capital Files 13D on Home Loan Servicing Solutions

Michael Blitzer's hedge fund Kingstown Capital has filed a 13D with the SEC regarding shares of Home Loan Servicing Solutions (HLSS).  Per the filing, Kingstown now owns 5.1% of the company with 3.6 million shares.

This is a newly disclosed position for the firm and their 13D indicates that they oppose the announced transaction between the company and New Residential Investment Corp (NRZ).

They write that they "do not believe a transaction at GAAP book value adequately compensates the Issuer's shareholders for the value of its assets, which have historically traded between 1.2x - 1.3x book value according to the Issuer’s September 2014 Investor Presentation.  The Reporting Persons further note the overly conservative nature of the assumptions underlying the Issuer’s book value, including (i) an assumed weighted average prepayment rate of 18% versus the actual 10.3% for the nine months ending September 30, 2014, (ii) an assumed weighted average delinquency rate of 25% versus actual non-performing residential assets of 18.5% of UPB as of September 30, 2014, (iii) an assumed weighted average discount rate of 19% versus a 10% discount rate used by NRZ to value its own MSR assets, and (iv) the exclusion of any value from deferred servicing fees, which were $470M at year-end 2013.      

Kingstown went on to write:

"The Reporting Persons believe that adjusting these assumptions to reflect recently observed rates and the discounted value of deferred servicing fees, among other factors, could add more than $7 per share of additional value above the stated book value.  Notwithstanding a higher offer from NRZ or others, the Reporting Persons believe the most value-enhancing strategies for the Issuer are continuing its servicing relationship with Ocwen Financial Corporation, completing refinancing initiatives recently highlighted by management and executing the Issuer’s growth initiatives as its financing and operations normalize in due course.  The Reporting Persons plan to communicate with the Issuer’s shareholders, management and Board of Directors (the “Board”) as well as other third parties to oppose the current transaction and may present other proposals that offer the Issuer’s shareholders more value. "

Per their 13D, Kingstown was buying HLSS shares throughout January and February at prices ranging from $12.xx to $18.xx.

It's also worth noting that Kingstown holds a large position in Bill Erbey's company Ocwen Financial (OCN) as well (9.5% of the company according to a February 13D filing.) 

They originally started an OCN position in the third quarter of 2014 and were buying on the way down as the company came under siege from the New York Department of Financial Services and regulator Benjamin Lawsky.  This investigation ended with OCN paying a hefty fine and Erbey leaving the company.  Kingstown's 13F filing that details their 2014 year-end portfolio indicated they sold entirely out of their OCN stake.  Then, in a new 13D filing in February, it shows that they started buying OCN again after shares had dropped 50%.

This is worth highlighting due to the fact that both HLSS and OCN have Bill Erbey in common; both are part of the halo of companies he assembled in the mortgage servicing space as HLSS was spun-off from Ocwen a few years ago.  As such, Kingstown's previous work on OCN likely came into play on their HLSS position given the close ties between the companies.

Per Google Finance, HLSS is "a development-stage company. The Company was formed to acquire mortgage servicing assets consisting of mortgage servicing rights, rights to fees and other income from servicing mortgage loans, and associated servicing advances. The Company operates its business as a single reportable segment. HLSS primary source of income is interest income on the Notes receivable – Rights to MSRs. HLSS do not originate mortgage loans, and as a result are not subject to the risk of loss related to the origination of mortgage loans. The Company engaged Ocwen, a residential mortgage loan servicer, to service the mortgage loans underlying HLSS Mortgage Servicing Assets .The Company has not and do not intend to develop its own mortgage servicing platform but instead will rely on high quality third-party residential mortgage loan servicers."

H Partners & Chieftain Capital Both File 13D's on Tempur Sealy

Two investment firms have recently filed 13D's with the SEC regarding shares of Tempur Sealy (TPX).

H Partners Sends Letter to Tempur Sealy's Board 

Rehan Jaffer's hedge fund H Partners currently owns 9.97% of the company with 6,075,000 shares, according to their latest 13D filed with the SEC.  This is the same amount of shares they owned as of the end of 2014 as well.

H Partners runs a highly concentrated portfolio focused on long-term investments.  Prior to founding H Partners, Jaffer worked at Third Point.

The hedge fund also sent a letter to the Tempur Sealy, calling for a new CEO, among other things.  They highlight the company's underperformance and their entire letter is embedded below:

Chieftain Capital Echoes Support

Second, John Shapiro's investment firm Chieftain Capital has filed a 13D on shares of the company as well.  In it, they disclose they own 5.78% of the company with over 3.51 million shares.

They've trimmed their Tempur Sealy position size by around 10% since the end of 2014.  The filing was made due to activity on February 19th and they were selling some shares around $55. 

Chieftain has owned TPX since 2010 and their 13D echoes support for H Partners' proposals for new management and would like to see H Partners get a seat on the board as well.

Per Google Finance, Tempur Sealy is "a bedding provider. The Company develops, manufactures, markets, and distributes bedding products, which it sells globally. The Company operates in three segments: Tempur North America, Tempur International and Sealy. The Company’s brand portfolio includes TEMPUR, Tempur-Pedic, Sealy, Sealy Posturepedic, Optimum, and Stearns & Foster."