Saturday, May 16, 2009

Margin Of Safety: Chapter 10

This chapter contains of a plethora of value investing examples. Klarman details a number of securities where investors who paid attention to fundamentals (e.g. strong businesses masked by unprofitable divisions, or companies trading at discounts to cash etc.) reaped enormous profits.

Klarman believes that investors should look for potential catalysts when making investment decisions. Catalysts are events that cause a stock's value to be recognized, thus resulting in immediate returns to investors who purchased at a discount. A liquidation is an example of a catalyst, and examples are given where such events have returned generous - and quick - positive results for investors (e.g. during bankruptcy events, where securities generally trade at a discount to their recoverable values).

Share buybacks and asset sales also represent partial catalysts, as they can cause a stock to inch closer to its underlying value. More importantly to Klarman, such events signal that management is interested in returning value to shareholders, which bodes well for the future.

Some areas where Klarman believes value investors can indeed find value include: liquidations, complex securities (i.e. securities institutions can't purchase because they don't fit set categories), rights offerings (often offering prices lower than current market value), spinoffs (as they are usually sold by holders of the parents, thus depressing prices immediately) and risk arbitrage (depending on the market's mood, as sometimes the market's exuberance can erode returns).

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