Friday, March 20, 2015

Bull of Heaven

In Bull of Heaven, Nawar Alsaadi takes us through his life as an investor, with a particular focus on his activist fight with Equal Energy. For me it was a real page-turner, as I enjoyed reading about Alsaadi's adventures growing up in Iraq (and his family's clashes with the Saddam Hussein regime) and his many financial adventures in the stock market.

Though he calls himself a value investor, Alsaadi is willing to take on the kind of downside risks that would make a trader at Everest Capital blush. Many eventual value investors start out taking crazy risks, because they don't know better when they are first introduced to the market. Alsaadi never stopped taking the risks, however, which really shocked me.

Even in the middle of his battle with Equal Energy, he sold puts to fund his activist campaign. Puts that could have bankrupted him had things gone just slightly differently.

The battle with Equal was something else. It never ceases to amaze me the lengths managements will sometimes go to in order to keep control of a company away from its own shareholders. I've seen so many examples of this that now more than ever I much prefer investing with shareholder-friendly management teams, rather than paying a cheaper price and hoping for a change.

Neverthless, Alsaadi managed to make some dough on the Equal battle, and has now thrown his capital behind Penn West Petroleum (PWE). You can read his thoughts on the company at Investor Village.

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