Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Aberdeen Is Asking For It

Aberdeen International (AAB) trades at half of book value. You can't blame investors, as the company's capital allocation history has been approximately horrendous. But the company recently agreed to sell what looks like the vast majority of its assets. Could this be an investment opportunity?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Interview with Manhattan Bridge Capital's CEO

Long-time readers of this site will recognize Manhattan Bridge Capital (LOAN) as a name that has been brought up here many times. This first-lien (up to 65% of collateral value) real-estate lender traded at a fraction of book value just a few years ago. Since then, the company's shares have catapulted upwards, and now trade at a premium to book. The company recently became a REIT, and as such it nows pays out most of its income to shareholders, and currently yields over 10%! I recently spoke with the company's CEO, Assaf Ran, and got his thoughts on where the company goes from here.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Built To Sell

For whatever reason, I do tend to enjoy business books that are structured as novels, and Built To Sell is no exception. Having started and sold four businesses, John Warrillow shares his thoughts on how to build a business that can be sold when the entrepreneur is ready to move on.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Wide Lens

Over time, companies have become more specialized. As a result, fewer products are made completely by one company. Instead, each company is just one cog in a product ecosystem. In The Wide Lens, Ron Adner argues that this increases the risk that an execution failure that occurs *outside* the company will affect the company. This book is about how companies can manage these risks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Deep Value

I really enjoyed Toby Carlisle's latest, Deep Value. There are a lot of books that offer compelling stories, but to my mind the plural of anecdote is not statistic. On the other hand, books heavy on the stats tend to bore their readers to sleep. For me, Deep Value was the perfect blend of real-life investing stories combined with the stats necessary to make for a convincing argument.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fatal Risk

AIG had been a a responsible risk taker for much of its history. Over several decades, Hank Greenberg oversaw its growth by taking appropriately-priced risk, ensuring no single event could take the firm down. After Greenberg's ousting, some things changed at AIG. One unit in particular grew to a large size and lost its way. In Fatal Risk, Roddy Boyd tells the tale of AIG's rise and dramatic fall during the recent recession.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Value Fail: Premier Exhibitions

I'm able to make purchase decisions relatively easily. The decision to sell, however, is never an easy one for me, whether a stock has risen or fallen. In the case of Premier Exhibitions, I don't think it was the actual purchase that cost me; after all, this was a profitable company when I discussed the stock as a potential value investment! Instead, it was my unwillingness to sell when business conditions changed that ended up hurting the most. I wasn't actually able to sell it until I finally recognized the mental block that was stopping me from giving up.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Your Brain At Work

If you follow this blog, you know I have spent some time thinking about how to minimize external distractions (e.g. the e-mail inbox) while working. But what about the distractions that come from inside your own head? These may be even more detrimental to a focused work day than any e-mail. In Your Brain At Work, David Rock provides some techniques for improving internal focus.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Best Buy Continues To Show Progress

Just over 7 months ago, I discussed Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) as a potentially great opportunity for value investors at its then $24 share price. Today, the shares trade at $31, which represents a 30% increase. I continue to hold it, as I believe the company remains undervalued.Read more...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Invisible Hands

Steven Drobny interviews a number of hedge fund managers who profited through the recent financial crisis in his book, The Invisible Hands.