Friday, August 4, 2017

Hedge Fund Links ~ 8/4/17

Excerpts from Highfields Capital's letter [Business Insider]

Steve Eisman says financial system 'safe' but worried about Europe's banks [Business Insider]

Thoughts from Dan Loeb on Third Point Re's conference call [CNBC]

Hedge funds turn to dark web to gain an edge [FnLondon]

Paul Tudor Jones clients pull 15% from main hedge fund [Bloomberg]

Fledgling quant funds seek to disrupt Wall Street [FT]

Pershing Square Builds Automatic Data Processing Stake

Recently, Bloomberg reported that Bill Ackman's activist firm Pershing Square Capital Management had built a stake in Automatic Data Processing (ADP).  Then today, Ackman told CNBC that he's "still buying the stock as of this morning" and that he is "not seeking control of the company."

Per Ackman's recent interview, he feels the company can expand profit margins by more than 50%.  Pershing now reportedly owns 8% of the company mainly via derivatives.

Apparently, Ackman was seeking to push back the board nomination window.  ADP responded: "The Board has unanimously determined that it is not in the best interests of ADP or its other shareholders to accede to Pershing Square's last-minute request for an extension."

ADP also appeared to take a dig at Pershing in its statement as well: "Since Carlos Rodriguez became CEO nearly six years ago, ADP's total shareholder return of 202% is well in excess of the S&P 500 TSR of 128% - and is many multiples of Pershing's TSR of 29%."

For more on this fund, we've also highlighted other recent portfolio activity from Pershing Square here.

Per Google Finance, Automatic Data Processing is "a provider of human capital management (HCM) solutions to employers, offering solutions to businesses of various sizes. The Company also provides business process outsourcing solutions. Its segments include Employer Services and Professional Employer Organization (PEO) Services. The Employer Services segment offers a range of human resources (HR) business process outsourcing and technology-enabled HCM solutions. These offerings include payroll services, benefits administration, talent management, HR management, time and attendance management, insurance services, retirement services, and tax and compliance services. ADP TotalSource, ADP's PEO business, offers small and mid-sized businesses a HR outsourcing solution through a co-employment model. As a PEO, ADP TotalSource provides HR management services while the client continues to direct the day-to-day job-related duties of the employees."

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Alex Roepers Interview With Capitalize For Kids

Alex Roepers of Atlantic Investment Management sat down with Capitalize For Kids for their Investor Series and talks about his strategy for beating the market while holding only six stocks.  Here's a few excerpts:

On the current markets:  "From a 40,000 foot level,you know the 10-year treasury yield is around 2.4%, while the S&P 500 dividend yield is around 2.1% and the earnings yield is about 5%, based on an index P/E of 17x. So we see the market as not overly cheap for sure but also not overly expensive. The continued low interest environment remains supportive for the overall market.

Within the market of course, you have many different pockets – it is a bit of a barbell, bifurcated market. On one hand, you have Tesla and the other story stocks that have a cult following and valuations that we think make absolutely no sense. On the other hand, you have many overlooked but solidly profitable companies who have little or no top-line growth, such as General Motors, automotive suppliers, airlines and retailers.We would say the market is full of interesting opportunities, long and short. It is ok on balance as long as rates remain reasonable."

On one of his top holdings Commscope (COMM): "(COMM is) a $5 billion integrated manufacturer of end-to-end solutions connecting wired and wireless networks, including networking equipment like antennas as well as coaxial and fiber optic cables. Solid secular growth is rooted in increased use of streaming data, video and movies and increased use of smart phones and internet mobility in general. Foreign sales are 50% and increasing due to growth in less mature markets, both developed and emerging, which require improved bandwidth and connectivity. We see it as a solid business. Key customers include Comcast, Verizon, AT&T,Charter Communications, Anixter and Liberty Media.

We started scaling into CommScope last October around $30/share. From there, the shares rallied to $42, up by 40% within 6 months. We were trimming along the way to keep the position in check as a percentage of capital. Then, in early May, due to a reduced forecast for Q2-2017, for reasons we deem to be transitory, Commscope shares were knocked down to $35, where we added back the shares we had sold on strength previously.  We see the shares reaching $50 in the next 6 to 12 months on reasonable earnings and valuation assumptions. Given our analysis CommScope has solid downside support here,compelling upside on its own and also takeover potential."

On overlooked value play Diebold Nixdorf (DBD): "They are a leading maker of automated teller machines (ATM) as well as electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) solutions for the retail market. In ATM’s, NCR and Hyosung are key competitors and in the retail vertical it is IBM-Toshiba and NCR mostly.  There are some 3.3 million ATMs installed worldwide, one third of which are Diebold Nixdorf’s.

A key concern is that the proliferation of electronic payments will cause a reduced need for the use of ATM’s. We believe that this concern is overblown as cash transactions and notes in circulation continue to grow even in the United States and Europe.  ATMs remain a productivity tool for banks and an integral part of their customer interaction.While there has been a lot of consolidation of bank branches, the total ATM count in mature markets has actually been stable and now we see the overall banking sector is improving which bodes well for new and upgraded ATMs. The installed base is an important barrier to entry and key driver of business.  About 60% of Diebold Nixdorf’s sales come from maintenance services and software.

In the past two years, Diebold shares had fallen from $40 down to the low twenties. Besides a recent earnings warning in what is “year one” of a transformational merger, another key reason behind the share price weakness was a spell of declining capital spending by banks. The transformational deal was to buy a key competitor called Wincor Nixdorf out of Germany. Wincor, which was sold by Siemens to private equity in 1999, and subsequently listed in2004, generates $2.5 billion in sales, $1.5 billion from ATMs and $1 billion from retail point of sale systems (POS) used by retailers like Ikea, Zara and H&M. The cross-border deal took a year before it closed in August of last year, during which NCR and others took advantage of the uncertainty and inability by the two merger companies to react.  We see significant potential from combining the complementary footprints and capabilities ...  we see Diebold Nixdorf shares reaching over $40/share in 18-24 months, based on 11-12x our 2020 EPS target."

He also gives updates on Harman (HAR) and Owens-Illinois (OI) and chats about other topics.  You can read the rest of the interview here.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

What We're Reading ~ 8/2/17

Profile of the founders of payments company Stripe [Bloomberg]

Staying competitive as the world changes [Collaborative Fund]

The unreformed stock picker: profile of Bill Miller [Forbes] 

Investment case for Gilead Sciences [WertArt Capital]

Netflix has $20 billion in debt - can it keep borrowing its way to success? [LA Times]

Palantir, the 'special ops' tech giant that wields as much power as Google [The Guardian]

Craft beer, brought to you by Big Beer [NPR]

On the threat of European grocery discounters [FBIC Group]

Priceline: the world's largest online travel company [Economist]

Electric vehicle outlook [Bloomberg]

Mental models: how to train your brain to think in new ways [James Clear]

The best path to long-term change is slow, simple and boring [NYTimes]

The 4 keys to learning anything [Zen Habits]

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Lone Pine Capital Starts TransUnion Position

Steve Mandel's hedge fund firm Lone Pine Capital has filed a 13G with the SEC regarding shares of TransUnion (TRU).  Per the filing, Lone Pine now owns 5.1% of TRU with over 9.29 million shares.

This is a newly disclosed position for the hedge fund as they previously did not own it at the end of the first quarter.  The new filing was made due to activity on July 20th.

Per Google Finance, TransUnion is "a risk and information solutions provider to businesses and consumers. The Company provides consumer reports, risk scores, analytical services and decision capabilities to businesses. The Company operates through three segments: U.S. Information Services (USIS), International and Consumer Interactive. The USIS segment provides consumer reports, risk scores, analytical services and decisioning capabilities to businesses. The International segment provides services similar to its USIS segment to businesses in select regions outside the United States. The Consumer Interactive segment offers solutions that help consumers manage their personal finances and take precautions against identity theft. Businesses uses its solutions for their process workflows to assess consumer ability to pay for services, measure and manage debt portfolio risk, collect debt, verify consumer identities and investigate potential fraud."

Monday, July 31, 2017

Senator Investment Group Takes Hyatt Hotels Stake

Alex Klabin and Doug Silverman's hedge fund firm Senator Investment Group has filed a 13G with the SEC regarding shares of Hyatt Hotels (H).  Per the filing, Senator now owns 5.82% of Hyatt with over 2.28 million shares.

This is a newly disclosed equity stake for the firm as they previously did not own any shares as of the end of the first quarter.  The new filing was made due to activity on July 17th.

We've also highlighted other recent portfolio activity from Senator here.

Per Google Finance, Hyatt Hotels is "a global hospitality company. The Company develops, owns, operates, manages, franchises, licenses or provides services to a portfolio of properties. The Company operates through four segments: owned and leased hotels; Americas management and franchising (Americas); ASPAC management and franchising (ASPAC), and EAME/SW Asia management and franchising (EAME/SW Asia). The owned and leased hotels segment consists of its owned and leased full service and select service hotels. The Americas segment consists of its management and franchising of properties located in the United States, Latin America, Canada and the Caribbean. The ASPAC segment consists of its management and franchising of properties located in Southeast Asia, as well as China, Australia, South Korea, Japan and Micronesia. The EAME/SW Asia segment consists of its management and franchising of properties located in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, Central Asia and Nepal."

Tiger Global Shows Redfin Stake, Ups Apollo Stake Again

Chase Coleman's hedge fund firm Tiger Global has submitted a couple filings to the SEC.  Here are the details:

Tiger Global Shows Extent of Redfin Stake

Redfin just completed its initial public offering (IPO) under the ticker symbol RDFN.  Per a Form 3 filed with the SEC, Tiger Global already had a stake in the company from when it was private. 

They owned 1,852,943 Series B convertible preferred stock, 3,705,838 Series F convertible preferred stock, as well as 617,826 Series G convertible preferred stock.

Upon completion of the IPO, the convertible preferred stock will "automatically convert into common stock of the Issuer on a 1:1 basis" per the filing.

Per Google Finance, Redfin is "a United States-based real estate broker company. The Company provides real estate search and brokerage services. The customer can search for homes by neighborhood, city or MLS number, or can refine results using detailed parameters, such as price and number of beds or baths. The Company serves home buyers and sellers. Redfin Builder Services is its sales platform designed specifically for home builders and condominium developers. Redfin Builder Services support product analysis, digital marketing, media, listing management and sales, pricing, and reporting. The customer can search homes for sale in Austin, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, OR, Raleigh, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Seattle, Washington, and West Palm Beach."

Tiger Global Ups Apollo Stake Again

As we've detailed in previous months, Tiger Global has been accumulating a position in private equity firm Apollo Global (APO).

Their latest just-filed Form 4 with the SEC indicates they purchased 3,200 more APO shares on July 25th at a weighted average price of $27.966 and also purchased 53,000 shares on July 26th at a weighted average price of $27.96.

After these latest purchases, Tiger Global's stake in APO is now over 33.45 million shares.

Per Google Finance, Apollo Global is "an alternative investment manager in private equity, credit and real estate. The Company raises, invests and manages funds on behalf of pension, endowment and sovereign wealth funds, as well as other institutional and individual investors. The Company's segments include private equity, credit and real estate. The private equity segment invests in control equity and related debt instruments, convertible securities and distressed debt investments. The credit segment invests in non-control corporate and structured debt instruments, including performing, stressed and distressed investments across the capital structure. The real estate segment invests in real estate equity for the acquisition and recapitalization of real estate assets, portfolios, platforms and operating companies, and real estate debt, including first mortgage and mezzanine loans, preferred equity and commercial mortgage backed securities."

JANA Partners Sends Letter to EQT's Board, Still Opposes Rice Transaction

Barry Rosenstein's activist hedge fund JANA Partners has filed an amended 13D with the SEC regarding its position in EQT (EQT).  Per the filing, JANA still owns 5.8% of the company with 10,017,129 shares (including options to purchase 1.86 million shares).

We highlighted previously that JANA opposed EQT's transaction with Rice Energy.  They continue to oppose it and JANA has sent a letter to EQT's board, which is embedded below:

You can also read it via the SEC's website here.