Notes From Sohn New York Investment Conference 2018: Einhorn, Robbins, Gurley & More ~ market folly

Monday, April 23, 2018

Notes From Sohn New York Investment Conference 2018: Einhorn, Robbins, Gurley & More

The annual Sohn New York Investment Conference recently took place and featured top hedge fund managers sharing their latest ideas to benefit charity.  Below are notes from the event.  We've also posted up notes from the emerging manager panel, Next Wave Sohn New York.

 Notes From Sohn New York Investment Conference 2018

John Khoury, Long Pond Capital: Long D.R. Horton (DHI).  He runs a $2.5B long/short fund mainly in Real Estate.  Pitch is DHI is getting asset light by only building on developed lots instead of buying raw land, getting approvals, and building the infrastructure.  So it's an asset-light model with less debt and better ROIC, so deserves better multiple.  They are the biggest US builder based on number of units - average price is $300k, basically entry-level homes, and they built 50k last year.  What about interest rates? Says that is the biggest fear now, but rates could go up 100 bp and housing would still be affordable in relation to current income and net worth of households.  Key is rates would be coming up from such a low place. Says record low inventories.  Expects $5.50 EPS by 2020, uses 13x to get $71.50, or 63% upside.

Li Ran, Half Sky Capital.  Long: GrubHub (GRUB).  2014 IPO.  Felt like the companion pitch to the TKWY pitch in the morning at Next Wave Sohn from Alex Captain of Cat Rock Capital.  Large addressable market, positive unit economics, proof of concept, and support from restaurants.  Painted a pretty rosy picture, didn't really touch on the bear case.  She says $70B TAM on 35% penetration on 110M diners (they have 14.5M now, and many analysts think they are close to fully penetrated in the US.)  She has done surveys of restaurant managers that expect GRUB to keep growing.Price Target $160, on 15x EV/EBITDA, up 60% from here.  Previously worked at Lone Pine Capital.

Jeffrey Gundlach, DoubleLine Capital: Long XOP ETF, short Facebook (FB).  His FB pitch seemed to mainly be based on technicals.  He used the fact that FB is below the 200 day moving average at the time as his reason to be short.  He also cited 2 examples of government regulation hurting stocks - one was tobacco. (He didn't mention other examples where stocks were stronger yet, such as credit cards, banks, etc.).  He pointed out a 'head and shoulders' formation on the FB chart, which is usually bearish.       

Chamath Palihapitiya, Social Capital: Long Box (BOX).  He said BOX was an AI play, and he also said you should have an AI basket of AMZN, GOOG, BOX.  He was less enthusiastic about NVDA, because he believed GOOG's TPUs are "ten times better."  On BOX, he said it goes up 10x in 10 years, even though it has 70% of Fortune 500 already.  Core business stable, adding SaaS revenue.  Big Data/AI play, and 4.3x revenue. Only growing 20% CAGR, yet he expects multiple expansion.

Glen Kacher, Light Street Capital: Long Palo Alto Networks (PANW).  Tiger Cub 1993-1997.  He was up 11% through the end of Q1 in 2018.  He talked about cyber warfare, and how firewalls weren't enough and how you need a platform approach.  $19B market cap, biggest in Cyber, ARPU 4x the competition, which is CHKP, CSCO, FTNT, JNPR and others. Compares their attempt to shift to subscription services that ADBE has done (though he didn't mention the difference is that ADBE didn't sell hardware).  He gets a $360 price target using 10.6x Revenue.  He admits products slipped in 2017, but thinks it comes in 2018.

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, New York Times op-ed contributor, visiting lecturer at The Wharton School and former Google data scientist.  Gave an interesting preview of his book, Everybody Lies.  Basically, a lot of people have secrets and tendencies, even though they don't admit it, but you can find out because of Google searches, which he calls "Digital Truth Serum."

Scott Ferguson, Sachem Head Capital: Long Whitbread (WTB).  Basically "Dunkin Donuts of the UK, with a budget hotel thrown in.  "Hasn't done well, they have been stuck in it for a year, he says the bad news is now priced in.

John Pfeffer, Pfeffer Capital: Long bitcoin.  The other alternative coins aren't great, stick with best of breed.  The pitch was basically that bitcoin is gold 2.0, similar to what the Winklevoss twins have argued.  Used a lot of formulas in the pitch.  Ultimately says could be a 1% chance that XBT goes to $700k if it's used as a Reserve Currency.  Maybe it's only Gold 2.0, then it's worth about $90-180k per coin, up from about $9k today.

Bill Gurley, Benchmark, with Chamath Palihapitiya:  Interesting back and forth between two talented VCs.  Gurley contemplates the idea of "peak car" ownership in the US.  3.2 cars per household now, could never get higher.  Says Uber is getting turned around, culture improving.  Slack, AirBnB are big ones to watch when they IPO.  He says autonomy could be 2 decades away, because the US is such a litigious society.  FB- he would be long, says this is not an existential threat.  AMZN- "of course, long."  GOOG - he's concerned - they have problems, although he wouldn't short (He also told an amusing story how they turned them down for VC money).  TSLA- says Musk is making it too risky to own the stock.  SoFi- "when you are handing out money there is no barrier to entry and the guy doing the highest volume usually has the loosest rule set."  HTZ- he would be short, even against Icahn.  Several issues:"disruption and debt are bad sisters," 5-15x levered, depending on whether you count the car loans.  Ride sharing is a huge substitute for rental cars in many US cities.  Systematic used car problem - if the macro gets hard at all, this business has zero flexibility due to the debt load.

Larry Robbins, Glenview Capital: Long ESRX, MCK, CVS.  Says AMZN is not going to get into their business, the PBMs aren't really gouging, they only make pennies, and drug prices have actually dropped over the last 4 years.  Says they trade at historically low multiples.  Says MCK goes up 91% in 2-3 years after the spin, and share buyback. ESRX deal with CI will happen.

Sohn Idea Contest Winner, Andrew Walker: Long LQM.  Mispricing due to taxable spin, incentive to keep price low.  This is a popular HF play right now.

Nathaniel August, Mangrove Partners: short EROS."Netflix of India" maker of Bollywood films.  He did a long presentation which focused on how he argues the company is cheating on their accounting every way possible.  He's being sued by the company.  Small cap, doesn't trade much.

David Einhorn, Greenlight Capital: Short Assured Guaranty (AGO).  Bond insurer, beset by Puerto Rico bonds and decline in overall muni bond issuance.  Business is also levered, with smaller room for error.

Be sure to also check out notes from the emerging manager segment of the conference: notes from Next Wave Sohn New York.

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