Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Graham & Doddsville New Issue: Lee Cooperman, David Poppe, John Harris & More

The Winter 2018 issue of Columbia Business School's Graham & Doddsville newsletter is out.  It features interviews with Lee Cooperman of Omega Advisors as well as David Poppe and John Harris of Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb.  Also, they talk with Vulcan Value Partners' C.T. Fitzpatrick, as well as Seth Fischer of Oasis Management.

Cooperman talked about the market's run: "I believe we're adequately priced.  I think we're heading to a normalization.  We have been living through a very strange period."  He doesn't see euphoria in the market yet, though notes everyone expects the market to head higher.  He pointed to 1987 as an example where the market traded at 27x earnings.

The gentlemen from Ruane Cunniff talked about their investment in Alphabet (GOOG) which they recently bought more or and it's now around 10% of their fund.  They also touched on their thesis on Credit Acceptance Corp (CACC).  (We recently posted Sequoia Fund's Q4 letter here.)

The issue also includes student investment pitches including long Staples 8.5 2025 unsecured notes, long FleetCor Technologies (FLT), and long First Data (FDC).

Embedded below is the Winter 2018 issue of CBS's Graham & Doddsville newsletter:

You can download a .pdf copy here.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Pershing Square Portfolio Update Presentation: Nike, S&P Global & More

Bill Ackman's activist firm Pershing Square recently made a presentation to investors about the current state of their portfolio and how they're re-tooling the organization after a few years of poor performance.  In 2017, Pershing was down 4%.

The presentation provides brief updates on all their holdings, including their new Nike (NKE) stake.

Pershing Square on New Nike Stake (NKE)

They bought Nike because it's "a high quality business that should compound long-term earnings at a high rate due to strong revenue growth and margin expansion."

They see it as an iconic brand with a dominant market position.  The company has assets via patents, a huge marketing budget, brand loyalty, manufacturing skill, and leverage with suppliers and customers.

Pershing thinks the company can continue to grow revenue in the high single digits.  They note positive secular trends of health/wellness and emerging market growth as key contributors, as well as pricing power.

The firm sees Nike expanding margins via new manufacturing processes and growth in distribution channels with "more favorable economics."

Ackman Bought & Sold S&P Global (SPGI)

The presentation also reveals that Pershing Square was buying shares of S&P Global (SPGI) during 2017 but sold the stake because they couldn't build a full position size as markets rose.

Their thesis was that "S&P is an annuity-like business with pricing power, strong secular growth and a margin opportunity."  It's a credit ratings and financial data services firm with the former comprising 55% of EBIT and the latter 45%.

Lastly, Pershing Square also bought an undisclosed position but sold that as well.  It's interesting that they aren't revealing the name.  Does this mean perhaps they might want to revisit it if the share price hits a level they're comfortable with? Who knows.

The presentation also includes updates on their stakes in: ADP, Chipotle, Howard Hughes, Mondelez,  Restaurant Brands, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, Platform Specialty Products, and their short of Herbalife (HLF).

Embedded below is Pershing Square's portfolio update presentation:

For more from this fund you can also read Pershing Square's Q3 letter.