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Friday, November 17, 2017

Liberty day follow up and some other stuff


Some follow ups from the Liberty Investor Day and some other stuff I liked

Monday, November 13, 2017

Liberty Investor day meet up

Given my obsession with Charter (disclosure: long) and the different Liberty trackers, it would be investing malpractice for me to skip the Liberty IR day this week, so I'll be heading there for the full day Thursday. If you're a fellow Liberty groupie and are planning on going / would like to meet up, shoot me a note / tweet and we can figure something out!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

One last New York REIT update $NYRT

My last post on New York REIT (NYRT; disclosure: long / bagholder) was quickly followed by two announcements the company had sold 3 buildings in total (1440 Broadway and 229 W 36th / 256 W 38th). I’ve gotten a ton of questions on the sales, so I figured I’d post something quickly discussing the sales.

Monday, November 6, 2017

AMC is beating analyst estimates and taking names $AMC

I've written several times about what a mammoth bagholder I am in AMC Entertainment (AMC; disclosure: sadly long). Sure, the box office has been awful this year, but much of the company’s problems have been self-inflicted. They did three mammoth acquisitions within a year, their big U.S. acquisition (Carmike) has been a disaster, and with hindsight the multiples paid for the European businesses have gone from aggressive to downright laughable. The company just had to massively revise guidance down for the full year, and this downward revision came on the heels of radioactive Q2, which featured earnings (or, more accurately, losses) and full year guidance that analysts called "shocking" and "dramatic". Shares are down >60% YTD and probably headed lower tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Podcasts, articles, and other things I found interesting

Some recent articles, podcasts, and other things that got me thinking:

Friday, October 27, 2017

Bagholding with $NYRT

Upfront note: this post is long and dives into the weeds a bit. If you want the Twitter version, it’s 1) NYRT’s trading at a huge discount to their last reported NAV of $9.21, 2) that NAV is almost certainly overstated, 3) despite that overstatement, even using a set of pretty conservative assumptions it’s tough to come up with a NAV that isn’t a good deal higher than today’s price, 4) I’m very bullish on the remaining WW piece and think it could create significant value. Full post below.

Friday, October 20, 2017

A few quirky things that caught my eye


Based on my recent focus on Charter (CHTR, disclosure: long) and Netflix, you might figure I spend all of my time in the telecom / media space, but that's more a recent focus and, in general, I actually follow mostly smaller and quirkier companies. One of the things you learn quickly about smaller / quirkier companies is that the potential for head scratching moves and shenanigans are way higher. Sometimes the shenanigans can be a good thing (a quirky / charismatic leader making investments and experiments no one else is willing to make / try / see that pay off in the long run), sometimes the shenanigans can be a bad thing (a financially illiterate monster running your company into the ground while collecting fat paychecks), but at a minimum it’s normally interesting. Here are a few of the quirkier things I’ve seen recently.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Some additional random thoughts on Netflix $NFLX

Last night, we did a podcast on Netflix’s Q3’17 earnings (in addition to the PG / Trian proxy battle). I’ve found podcasting is good for talking about broader topics and poor for diving into specific investment thoughts / details, so I wanted to type up a few more investing /stock specific thoughts that popped up from their Q3’17 earnings call.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Matching with IAC $IAC $MTCH

IAC Interactive (IAC; disclosure: long) represents the opportunity to invest in a company trading for roughly the same price of its publicly traded equity stakes despite the presence of world class capital allocators with a proven history of realizing shareholder value at the opportune time, hundreds of millions in net cash on their balance sheet, and a grab bag of other (quite valuable) assets.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Cord cutting and other cable risks $CHTR

An increasingly long time ago, I was an analyst for a consulting firm. In ~2012, we were working with one of the big cable companies and I was on a call discussing some work I was doing modeling their finances going forward using different assumptions for cord cutting (things like what if 3% of customers cut the cord every year versus 5%). My focus was, in particular, on how it would impact the company’s cash flow going forward. I was going through some different assumptions when one of their top managers jumped on, cut me off, and said something along the lines of, “It won’t matter. We’ll just raise their broadband prices when they drop TV.”

Monday, October 2, 2017

Still bullish on Charter $CHTR

I’ve previously published some bullish thoughts on Charter (disclosure: net long through the Liberty complex), but I wanted to publish some random updated thoughts here (to tip my hand, I plan on publishing a Liberty Ventures (LVNTA, disclosure: long) update in the wake of the GCI proxy getting filed and wanted to have updated thoughts on Charter to go with it).

Thursday, September 28, 2017

22 timeless lessons for our 22nd month

We launched my fund nearly 22 months ago. To commemorate the occasion, I wanted to share 22 timeless things I’ve learned in those 22 months.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Some evolving thoughts on research

Ahhh so sorry for the lack of posts. I mean to post on here ~once a week, but it’s always a struggle.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Conversation on $MSG

I went on Hedgeye to discuss our investment in MSG (disclosure: long). The video is ~17 minutes long; I have a feeling you'll like it if you follow this blog.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Do insiders think $DFRG sell-off is a rare opportunity?

It’s pretty rare these days to find a U.S. stock that simply no one has heard of or taken a look at. When I stumble on a stock, the first thing I do is search my email to see if I’ve emailed anyone about it and then check VIC and Sumzero to see if it’s been written up on one of those sites, and it’s astonishing how rare it is that the stock hasn’t been mentioned in one of those three places. So, increasingly, all investors are using the same tools to look at the same stocks (at least in the U.S. markets; foreign markets seem less picked over from my seat but me and most of the people I talk to might just have a U.S. bias).

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Is $RSO too discounted?

Note: I wrote this over the weekend and meant to post before earnings came out, but I got distracted by the tragedy that is AMC. RSO reported earnings last night and filed an 8-K with a bit more info on their LCC sale on Tuesday, so some of the numbers here are slightly stale, but directionally everything is completely consistent so I’m fine posting it now (though I haven't listened to the earnings call yet). Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

$AMC : That escalated quickly

Well, that escalated quickly.
I mentioned AMC (disclosure: long, unfortunately) on the blog ~a month ago. Last night, the company provided preliminary Q2’17 and FY17 guidance that could only be described as disastrous. The stock has certainly responded today, down ~25%, and the rest of the movie theater sector is performing much better (NCMI down 16%, CNK down 6%, RGC down 5%, IMAX down ~8%). So I guess given the share price performance it be more accurate to say that de-escalated quickly.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

More questions at FranklinCovey $FC

Bill Ackman coined (or perhaps stole, IDK) the “return-on-invested-brain-damage” calculation. His basic thought is to figure out what the potential return from an investment is and weigh it against the effort and complexity required to unlock that value. If it’s a super complex and difficult situation with limited return, pass. If it’s massively difficult but the upside is huge, go for it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Some Thoughts on Stock Dilution Part 2 $RLJE

Note: this is part two in a series that started discussing stock dilution and Turning Point Brands (TPB); please see part 1 here.

Some Thoughts on Stock Dilution Part 1 $TPB

Note: this article started out as one article, but I decided to split it into two separate articles and link the two of them to 1) make it easier to link to specific ideas in the future, 2) break up what was becoming a long article, and 3) because #pageviews. You can find Part 2 here.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Brave deeper into the Liberty complex $BATRA

I’ve got a few other companies I wanted to write about, but given their shareholder webcast is early next week, my last post was on LVNTA (which I am very long), a tweet on them drew a nice response, and I am trying to convince Greg Maffei to let me race the Freeze at the next shareholder meeting, I thought now was as good a time as any to talk about Liberty Braves (BATRA/BATRK; disclosure: long).

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Liberty Ventures GCI merger set to unlock significant value $LVNTA $GNCMA

  • Liberty Ventures (LVNTA) trades at a deep discount to net asset value (NAV)
  • NAV is certainly understated
  • After the GCI deal goes through, LVNTA should become a share repurchase machine and will likely be acquired at a nice premium in the next few years

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Charter: A levered return of capital story for the ages $CHTR

  • Charter is undervalued versus peers
  • Insiders are very bullish on Charter and the company is buying shares back like crazy
  • I don’t think the market realizes just how wild (in a good way) these share buybacks are yet

Friday, June 23, 2017

Why the big decline, AMC? $AMC

Key investment thesis: AMC (disclosure: long) shares have recently dramatically under performed peers RGC and CNK (disclosure: short a non-life altering amount of both as a hedge), providing investors with an opportunity to invest in the company at a below peer valuation despite better growth prospects.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Case study: Tangoe acquisition $TNGO

So sorry for the lack of posts recently; I have been working on a few things that, for one reason or another, I didn't want to post on the blog. I'd expect a few more in the near future.
Last week, Marlin closed on its deal to buy Tangoe (TNGO) for $6.50/share. We had acquired a position in the stock in late March at ~$5/share (unfortunately, it was a rather small position). Because historical case studies can be educational, I've posted my rough working thesis from late March below. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Hill International: 2017 Update $HIL

  • This is a follow up to my Jan. 2016 piece on Hill
  • With Claims sold and activists taking control of the board, Hill is likely undervalued as a standalone and and interesting target for a variety of acquirers
  • I wrote this in mid-April before the Claims sale officially went through and Richter left in early May, but I think both of those are just confirmatory of the thesis below.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Hill International: January 2016 Investment Thesis $HIL

Note: I wrote the below way back in January 2016. Over the weekend, I'll be posting a long update on the company (update: that post is now live), but the update doesn't make sense without this background, so I needed to get this out first. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Cutting into Lifetime's Value $LCUT

  • A recent bid from a major shareholder with a history of buying companies could be the beginning of the end for Lifetime Brands (LCUT)
  • A strategic acquirer could likely realize huge synergies from buying Lifetime
  • Even absent an acquisition, shares are currently trading for a discount to their likely standalone fair value.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Something's BREWing at CBA $BREW

  • Craft Brew Alliance (ticker: Brew, but nicknamed CBA) new deal with Anheuser-Busch could lead to a buyout at a big premium.
  • Declines at other brands have hidden Kona's growth recently, but that should change in the near future
  • At today's prices, shareholders have multiple ways to win.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Playa-ing around with SPACs (Part 2) $PLYA $PACE

  • Pace Holdings (PACE), a SPAC, is buying Playa Resorts in a deal scheduled to close this month.
  • Despite the history of SPACs, I find the deal and company attractive
  • Due to post size, I split my overview into two pieces: part 1 (see here) covers why I'm so negative on SPACs, and part 2 (below) covers why I like Playa.

Playa-ing around with SPACs (Part 1) $PLYA $PACE

  • Pace Holdings (PACE), a SPAC, is buying Playa Resorts in a deal scheduled to close this month.
  • Despite the history of SPACs, I find the deal and company attractive
  • Due to post size, I split my overview into two pieces: part 1 (below) covers why I'm so negative on SPACs, and part 2 (see here) covers why I like Playa.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

What the heck is happening at Insignia $ISIG

  • Some weird stuff is happening at Insignia
  • I'd love to get your take on it

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Novelion might not be an orphan for much longer $NVLN

  • Novelion has a fantastically interesting history
  • The company's financials currently look like a train wreck
  • A relatively conservative sum of the parts shows significant upside from today's prices

Sunday, February 26, 2017

This time could be different for SWK Holdings $SWKH


  • SWK Holdings hasn't had a great past couple of years
  • Whether you take the company's book value number or substantially haircut it, the stock trades well below book value at today's prices
  • There are some early signs that the future could be much brighter for SWK.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Will activism at YuMe lead to a Sizmek like premium? $YUME

  • After years of mismanagement, activists have seized control of YuMe.
  • Now they’re cutting costs like crazy and running a strategic process.
  • While there’s significant potential upside, the market seems to be implying YuMe and its peers are in deep, deep trouble.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

CSX a fascinating study in comp and activism $CSX


  • Mantle Ridge and CSX have each employed unique strategies in their current proxy battle
  • The battle has me thinking a lot about comp and activism going forward
  • Will strong CEOs leave their current jobs to take over under-performers more frequently going forward? Is that good or bad for investors?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Hain's accounting issues could present opportunity $HAIN

  • Hain hasn't filed financials in almost a year now.
  • Like Comscore, there's a lot of smoke here.
  • Unlike Comscore, I like the risk / reward at these prices.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Layne's Heavy sale a catalyst for a blog post $LAYN

  • Last night, LAYN announced a sale of their Heavy Civil division
  • I’ve had the write up below ready to go for a while, and the sale “catalyzed” me to post it before it became too stale
  • LAYN’s an interesting SOTP story, but there are definitely a lot of lingering questions

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

With this much smoke, is ComScore actually on fire? $SCOR

  • ComScore’s (SCOR) shares were rocked yesterday on continued accounting issues
  • I thought this might be a case of a bit of smoke and no fire, but man there is a lot of smoke here. It’s tough to imagine that smoke is coming from anything other than a raging inferno.
  • All of these thoughts are preliminary; if you have a different (and well researched) angle, I’d love to hear it.

Monday, February 6, 2017

FGL's potential merger break could offer upside $FGL

  • FGL is in a merger with Anbang that is likely to break later this week
  • Despite the likely break, FGL's stock looks interesting on a host of fundamental metrics.
  • If the deal does break, it seems a decent bet majority owner HRG will look to sell FGL again in the near future.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The "bonus for everyone" culture is killing shareholders

Roughly 15% of the posts I see on Facebook complain about “kids these days” (Before the election, it was probably 25%. Now my Facebook feed is probably 15% “kids these days”, 65% political rants, 15% baby photos or engagement announcements, and 10% cute puppy videos. Related note: I only like 10% of my Facebook feed). One of the most common complaints about “kids these days” has to do with the “trophy for everyone” culture ruining them and making them feel entitled. Maybe they’re wrong, maybe they’re right. Who knows?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

MEI Pharma: Massive upside not reflected in today's price $MEIP

  • A failed Phase II trial for their main drug caused investors to abandon MEI Pharma (MEIP)
  • Today, the company trades for below net cash
  • Despite the failed trial, some recent good news suggest there could be significant upside potential hiding here

Ophthotech: a quick follow up $OPHT


  • Ophthotech (OPHT) announced a strategic review this morning
  • The review is great if you're a member of the management team or a believer that the management team has significant skill in identifying unique compounds; for everyone else, not so much.
  • The current plans probably call for a capital raise or partner in a few years, and it'll be interestign to see that dynamic play out.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dyadic: two lottery tickets for the price of none $DYAI

  • Dyadic (DYAI; disclosure: long) trades for below its cash value and is buying back shares like crazy
  • The company has two massive options: their C1 tech for healthcare, and a big lawsuit
  • Position sizing has been a real struggle for me here; I'd love to hear your thoughts

Sunday, January 29, 2017

What will Ophthotech do with all that cash? $OPHT

  • This week, the blog’s focusing on companies trading below net cash value.
  • Net cash investing sounds boring and safe, but I’ve generally found it to be highly volatile.
  • Ophthotech (OPHT) trades below net cash; the question is what management is going to do with the money.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Franklin Covey's big question $FC

  • Franklin Covey is undergoing a business model switch that makes their financials look worse than they are.
  • Ignoring the model switch, Q1 still seemed awful and calls into question if the switch is going well or not.
  • If Q1 was just a blip and AAP is as successful as advertised, investors could do well at today’s price as the business model switch drives significant growth.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Bob Evans and the Conference Call Question of the Year $BOBE


  • Bob Evans is selling off their restaurant side
  • The conference call was hilarious
  • They're probably roughly fairly valued around today's prices

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Nexmo could make Vonage shareholders go "Woo-Hoo" $VG

  • Vonage (VG) is helmed by a fantastic CEO who has done a masterful job of capital allocation over the last three years
  • The company has three segments with wildly different outlooks and financials, and that disparity plus the legacy overhand of people thinking of VG as a dying consumer phone company could mask the underlying value of the company
  • My biggest issue with VG is valuing their Nexmo acquisition: it swings a huge piece of VG’s value, but can it really be worth twice as much as VG paid for it last summer?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Tucows "right" in eNom deal $TCX $NAME

Quick Summary
  • Tucows is buying Rightside’s eNom division for $84m
  • The deal appears to be a win/win for both companies
  • I may have only written this article to indulge my fascination with the one day stock chart and/or to quickly break my plans for the blog. You decide.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Shoretel's Calling $SHOR

Quick Summary

  • The whole Unified Communications space (UC) is undergoing a massive shift to an internet driven, SaaS-like model
  • The decline in traditional premise based sales has masked the growth in Shoretel's UCaaS segment and likely left Shoretel trading at a discount to its SOTP.
  • The potential cost synergies from Shoretel merging with a strategic acquirer (likely Mitel) would be significant and could be worth most of today's share price