Berkshire Hathaway Invests in Home Capital Group and Store Capital ~ market folly

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Berkshire Hathaway Invests in Home Capital Group and Store Capital

News has recently come out that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has made two recent investments:

Berkshire Hathaway Invests in Home Capital Group (HCG)

First, Berkshire will indirectly purchased C$400 million of Home Capital shares via a private placement (40 million shares at around C$10 per share).  Additionally, Berkshire will give the company a C$2 billion line of credit.

Of the investment, Buffett said, "Home Capital's strong assets, its ability to originate and underwrite well-performing mortgages, and its leading position in a growing market sector make this a very attractive investment."

Berkshire will own just over a 38% equity stake in the company.  The company had been undergoing a strategic review as it sought ways to raise capital.

Home Capital had been a popular short among investors betting that Canada could see fallout from a subprime housing crisis of its own.  Buffett has clearly zagged the other direction with this bet.

After falling 45% over the past six months, HCG shares are now up 82% over the past few weeks.

For more on Berkshire Hathaway, we highlighted an interview with Warren Buffett last month.

Per Google Finance, Home Capital is "Canada-based holding company that operates through its subsidiary, Home Trust Company (Home Trust), which offers deposits, residential and non-residential commercial mortgage lending and consumer lending. It offers deposits through brokers and financial planners, and through its direct-to-consumer deposit brand, Oaken Financial. Home Trust, through its subsidiary, Home Bank, offers mortgage, deposit and personal banking products. Its mortgage lending includes Traditional Single-family and ACE Plus Lending; insured residential lending; residential commercial lending, and non-residential commercial lending. Its consumer lending includes credit card and line of credit lending, and other consumer retail lending. In addition it manages a treasury portfolio to support liquidity requirements and invest excess capital. Its operations also include Payment Services Interactive Gateway Inc., the Company's subsidiary involved in payment processing."

Berkshire Invests in Store Capital (STOR)

Secondly, Warren Buffett's firm has also made a bet on another industry that's seen some struggles: physical retail.  While it's not an actual retailer, it still has exposure to the industry as it's a REIT focused on single tenant commercial operational real estate. 

Berkshire has invested $377 million in Store Capital (STOR) according to the company, which turns out to be around a 9.8% stake.  The private placement issued 18.6 million shares at $20.25 per share.

Per Google Finance, Store Retail is "an internally managed net-lease real estate investment trust. The Company is engaged in the acquisition, investment and management of single tenant operational real estate (STORE) properties. As of December 31, 2016, the Company owned a portfolio that consisted of investments in 1,660 property locations operated by 360 customers across 48 states. Its customers operate across a range of industries within the service, retail and manufacturing sectors of the United States economy, with restaurants, early childhood education centers, movie theaters, health clubs and furniture stores. The Company's portfolio includes investments in approximately 1,330 property locations operated by over 300 customers across approximately 50 states. The Company provides real estate financing solutions principally to businesses that own STORE properties and operate within the broad-based service, retail and industrial sectors of the United States economy."

For more from Warren Buffett, we've highlighted other Berkshire Hathaway portfolio activity here.

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