Tag Archives: David Einhorn

AerCap Holdings N.V. part 2 – Less tangible at a second glance

So after my first look into David Einhorn’s long pick AerCap last week, I want to follow up with some more detailed analyis in a second step.

By the way, a big “thank you” for all the qualified comments and Emails I got already after the first post, that’s the best return on investment on a blog post I can get !!!

The book value story growth

This was for me one of the core slides of Einhorn’s deck:

aercap

I mean you don’t have to be a genius to understand this: A company which trades near book value and compounds 20% p.a. is pretty much a no brainer. However, if I look at the developement of book values for financial companies, I always look at both, stated and tangible book value per share.

In AerCap’s case, the comparison looks interesting:

BV per share TBV share
2006 8,83 8,3493
2007 11,18 10,6041
2008 13,04 12,4083
2009 14,79 14,3448
2010 14,82 14,3798
2011 15,26 15,0608
2012 18,72 18,5592
2013 21,32 21,2334
2014 37,04 16,174
     
CAGR 19,6% 8,6%
CAGR 2006-2013 13,4% 14,3%

This table shows two things: Before the ILFC transaction, stated book values and tangible book values were pretty much the same and compounding around 13% p.a. Still pretty good but clearly not 20%. In 2014 however, with the ILFC deal something interesting happened: The book value per share doubled but tangible book value dropped.

The ILFC deal

So this is the right time to look into the ILFC deal. The two main questions for me are:

a) why did the book value per share increase so much ?
b) why did tangible book value per share actually decrease ?

This is how AerCap presents what and how they paid for ILFC:

Aercap2

So AerCap paid the majority of the purchase with own shares, 97,56 mn shares valued at 46,49 USD. Issuing new shares always has an impact on book value per share if the issue price is different from the book value. Let’s look at an example:

We have a company which has issued 100 Shares at 50 EUR book value per share and 100 EUR market value (P/B =2). So the total market value is 10.000, total book value is 5000. If the company now issues another 100 Shares at 100 EUR market value, we have 200 shares outstanding and 5000+10000 = 15.000 EUR total book value. Divided by 200 stocks we now have 75 EUR book value per share or a 50% increase in book value per share for the old shareholders. So issuing shares above book value increases book value per share automatically.

In AerCap’s case, it worked more or less the same way: AerCap had ~113 mn shares outstanding with a book value of around 21,30 USD per share. So issuing 97,56 mn share at a steep premium at 46,49 of course increased book value per share dramatically. The transaction alone would have increased the book value to ((113*21,30)+(97,56*46,49))/(113+97,56)= 32,97 USD per share or an increase of ~50%.

So how is this to be interpreted ? Well, clearly it was a smart move from AerCaps management to pay with its owns shares at such a nice price. On the other hand, one should clearly not mistake this a a recurring kind of thing. I would not use the historic 20% p.a. increase in ROE as expectation for the future but rather something like 13% or so in the past.

Intangibles

After looking into how much and in what form AerCap was paying, let’s look now what they actually got:

aercap3

Yes, they got a lot of planes and debt. Interestingly they assumed more debt than book value of the planes. Altogether they did get a lot of intangible assets. All in, AerCap bought 4,6 bn intangibles which is around 80 mn more than equity created through the new shares. So at the end of the day, one could argue that the new shares have been exchanged more or less 1:1 against intangible assets.

The largest part of this is a 4 bn USD position called “Maintenance rights intangible” which for me is something new. This is what they say in their 20-F filing:

Maintenance rights intangible and lease premium, net
The maintenance rights intangible asset arose from the application of the acquisition method of accounting to aircraft and leases which were acquired in the ILFC Transaction, and represented the fair value of our contractual aircraft return rights under our leases at the Closing Date. The maintenance rights intangible asset represents the fair value of our contractual aircraft return right under our leases to receive the aircraft in a specified maintenance condition at the end of the lease (EOL contracts) or our right to an aircraft in better maintenance condition by virtue of our obligation to contribute towards the cost of the
maintenance events performed by the lessee either through reimbursement of maintenance deposit rents held (MR contracts), or through a lessor contribution to the lessee. The maintenance rights intangible arose from the application of the acquisition method of accounting to aircraft and leases which were acquired in the ILFC Transaction, and represented the fair value of our contractual aircraft return rights under our leases at the Closing Date. The maintenance rights represented the difference between the specified maintenance return condition in our leases and the actual physical condition of our aircraft at the Closing Date.

For EOL contracts, maintenance rights expense is recognized upon lease termination, to the extent the lease end cash compensation paid to us is less than the maintenance rights intangible asset. Maintenance rights expense is included in Leasing expenses in our Consolidated Income Statement. To the extent the lease end cash compensation paid to us is more than the maintenance rights intangible asset, revenue is recognized in Lease revenue in our Consolidated Income Statement, upon lease termination. For MR contracts, maintenance rights expense is recognized at the time the lessee provides us with an invoice for reimbursement relating to the cost of a qualifying maintenance event that relates to pre-acquisition usage.

The lease premium represents the value of an acquired lease where the contractual rent payments are above the market rate. We amortize the lease premium on a straight-line bases over the term of the lease as a reduction of Lease revenue.

This sounds quite complicated and for some reason part of the sentences seem to have been duplicated. If I understand correctly, they assume that the underlying value of the aircraft is higher than the book value of the acquired planes. To be honest: I do not have any clue if this is justified or not.

However, as those intangibles are significant (more than 50% of book value), the case gets a lot less interesting for me. Intangibles created via M&A activity are in my experience always difficult, especially if it is esoteric stuff like this. It’s also a big change to the past of AerCap. Historically, they were carrying very little intangibles.

Funding cost & ROE

This was Einhorn’s prospective ROE calculation:

aercap roe

One of the key assumptions is a 3% funding cost. So let’s do a reality check and look at the expected pricing of AerCaps new bond issue. This is from Bloomberg:

Aercap $750m TLB Talk L+275, 99.75, 0.75%; Due April 30
By Krista Giovacco
(Bloomberg) — Commits due April 30 by 12pm ET.
Borrower: Flying Fortress Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of AerCap Holdings and International Lease Finance Corp., largest independent aircraft lessor
$750m TLB due 2020 (5 yr extended)
Price Talk: L+275
OID: 99.75
Libor Floor: 0.75%
Call: 101 SC (6 mos)
Fin. Covenants: Max LTV test
Existing Ratings: Ba2/BB+ (corp.); Ba1/BBB-, RR2 (TLB)

So AerCap is funding at a spread of 2,75% vs. LIBOR. With the 10 year USD LIBOR at 2,00%, funding would be way more expensive than the 3% assumed by Einhorn. Maybe the fund floating rate, but then the whole company would rather be a bet against rising interest rates than anything else. On a “like for like” basis without structural interest rate risk, I don’t think AerCap will generate a double-digit ROE at current spreads.

Business case & competitive environment

Within the comments of the first post, some people argued that the company is not a financing company but that the access to Aircraft is the value driver. Buying cheap aircraft from manufacturers and then selling (or leasing) them with a mark-up to clients then looks like some kind of Aircraft trading business.

For me however there is one big problem with such a business model. Retailing or wholesaling any merchandise is then most attractive as a business when 3 criteria are met:

– there are a lot of suppliers
– there are a lot of clients
– you can create a competitive advantage via physical distribution networks

In AerCap’s case, the biggest problem is clearly that there are not that many suppliers but only 2, Boeing and Airbus. Both don’t have much incentive to let any intermediary become too large so they will most likely encourage competition between Aircraft buyers.

Secondly, as far as I understand, there is no physical distribution network etc. behind AerCap’s business. So entering the market and competing with AerCap in the future doesn’t look so difficult for anyone with access to cheap capital.

Clearly, as in any opaque trading business, an extremely smart trader can always make money but it is important to understand that at least in my understanding there are no LONG TERM competitive advantages besides the purchase order flow from ILFC.

That the barrier to entry the business is not that high is proven by no other than Steven Udvar-Hazy the initial founder of ILFC and his new company Air Lease.

IPO’ed in 2010 and now the company is already a 4 bn USD market company 5 years later. Interestingly, AIG sued Air Lease in 2012 because they

were able “to effectively steal a business,” and reap a windfall at the expense of ILFC, the world’s second-largest aircraft lessor by fleet size. It described how some employees, while still working at ILFC, downloaded confidential files and allegedly diverted deals with certain ILFC customers to Air Lease, before leaving to join that firm. The companies are in the business of buying aircraft and leasing them to commercial airlines all over the world.

So to me it’s not clear what AerCap actually bought. It seems the “secret sauce” of ILFC seems to have been transferred to competitor Air Lease already. Interestingly, the lawsuit was settled a few days ago at a sum of 72 mn USD. I found that quote from Udvar-Hazy interesting:

“I want to make it clear that there is no secret sauce in the aircraft leasing business,” Hazy told analysts on a conference call. “ALC’s success is a result of a strong management team with extensive experience and solid industry relationships.”

Summary:

My problem with AerCap is the following: The financial part of the company, which I feel that I can judge to a certain extent, does not look attractive but rather risky to me. The Aircraft “buying and trading” segment on the other hand seems to be the more attractive part but for me too hard to judge in a reasonable way.

So for the time being, this is clearly not an investment for me. To look further into AerCap, two things need to happen: First they need to regain their investment grade rating and funding cost will need to drop to the 3% that Einhorn is assuming and secondly, there should be a clear impact on the share price from a potential sale from AIG.

In the current market environment clearly anything can happen and a multiple expansion could bring nice profits but personally, in a direct comparison I prefer the LLoyd’s case.

AerCap Holdings NV (ISIN NL0000687663) – How good is Einhorn’s new favourite ?

A friend forwarded me the latest presentation from “guru” David Einhorn where his main long pick was AerCap, an Airplane leasing company.

To shortly summarize the “Long case”:

– AerCap is cheap (P/E 9)
– they made a great deal taking over IFLC, the airplane leasing division of AIG which is several times AerCap’s original size
– they have great management which is incentivized along shareholders
– The business is a simple and secure “spread business”
– major risks are according to Einhorn mostly the credit risk of the airlines and residual value risk of the planes

There are also quite obvious reasons why Aercap is cheap and trades at lower multiples than its peers:

– share overhang: AIG accepted new AerCap shares as part of the purchase price and owns 45,6%. They want to sell and the lock up is expiring
– following the IFLC/AIG transaction, the company was downgraded to “Non-investment grade” or “junk” and has therefore relatively high funding costs compared for instance to GE as main competitor

What kind of business are we talking about?

Well, Airplane leasing is essentially a “special purpose lending business” without an official bank license, one could also say it is a “shadow bank”. What Aercap essentially does is to loan an airplane to an airline.

In order to make any money at all, they have to be cheaper than the simple alternative which would be the airline gets a loan from a bank and buys the airplane directly. As Airlines are notoriously unprofitable and often thinly capitalized, they often need to pay pretty high spreads even if they borrow money on a collateralized basis.

As any lessor funds the plane mostly with debt, the cost of debt is one important factor to make money compared to competitors. It is therefore no big surprise that GE with its AA+ Rating is the biggest Airplane leasing company in the world and that ILFC thrived while AIG was still AAA and had comparably low funding cost.

Airplane buying is tricky business

A second aspect is also clearly buying power. Planes have to be ordered many years in advance and the two big manufacturers want to be sure that they are getting paid. I assume a reliable bulk buyer gets better access to the most sought after planes and maybe even better prices. Prices for planes at least in my experience are notoriously intransparent. Nobody pays the official list prices anyway. I found this interesting article in the WSJ from 2012.

When Airbus and Boeing Co. announce orders at the Farnborough International Airshow this week, they will value the deals based on the planes’ catalog prices—which no one pays. Airline executives, when pressed for details, will probably say they got “a great deal.” But actual terms will remain guarded like nuclear launch codes.
The aviation industry’s code of silence on pricing is notable in this era of information overload. Thousands of people world-wide are involved in airplane purchases, yet few numbers spill out. That yields much mystery and speculation.

Discounts are large:

But there are ways to estimate the range of discounts. An analysis of public data by The Wall Street Journal and interviews with numerous industry officials yielded this: Discounts seem to vary between roughly 20% and 60%, with an average around 45%. Savvy buyers don’t pay more than half the sticker price, industry veterans say. But deal specifics differ greatly.

But no one wants to talk about it:

One reason for the secrecy surrounding all this, say industry officials, is psychology: Less-experienced plane buyers like to think they got a bargain and don’t want to be embarrassed if they overpaid. The safest approach then is silence. More-seasoned plane buyers also know that bragging about discount specifics would anger Airbus, Boeing or other producers and hurt the chances of striking a sweetheart deal again.

Clearly, as a large “quasi broker”, Airline leasing companies seem wo have a chance to make some money in such a intransparent market. But it is really hard to pin down real numbers. It reminds me a little bit about how you buy kitchens in Germany where the system is pretty much the same. Everyone gets a discount, but no one knows what the “true” price looks like.

But this also leads to a problem:

With the current funding costs, AerCap would not be competitive in the long run. Let’s take as a proxy the 10 year CDS spread as a proxy for funding costs and compare them across airlines and competitors (more than 50% of AerCaps outstanding debt is unsecured):

10 year senior CDS Rating
     
AerCap 215 BB+
     
     
Clients    
Air France 96  
Singapore Airlines 105 A+
Southwest 109  
Lufthansa 195 BBB-
Thai Airways 240  
Delta 256 BB
Emirates 257  
Jet Blue 362 B
     
Competitors    
GE Capital 72 AA+
Air Lease 175 BBB-
ICBC 194 A
CIT 229 BB-

So purely from the funding cost perspective, AerCap at the moment has a problem. Someone like Air France could easily fund a loan for an airplane cheaper than AerCap, so cutting out the middle man is basically a no brainer and even the smaller competitors could easily under price AerCap when they bid for leasing deals. On top of that, a lot of non-traditional players like pension funds and insurance companies want some piece of the action, as the return on investments on those leases are significantly higher than anything comparable. Even Asset managers have entered this market and have created specific funds for instance Investec.

AerCap does have a positive rating outlook, so there is a perspective for lower funding costs. Just to give an indication of how important this rating upgrade is: On average, 10 year BB financial isuers pay 2,4% p.a. more than BBB financial issuers at the moment. The jump from BB+ to BBB- will not be that big but it would increase the investor universe a lot for AerCaps bonds.

The biggest risk for AerCap

So although I am clearly no match for David Einhorn (*), I would argue that the biggest risk for AerCap is not the residual value of the planes or the credit quality of the Airlines but quite simply the refinancing risk. AerCap has to fund a significant amount going forward and if for some reasons, spreads move against them, they will be screwed. Just a quick reminder what happened to ILFC in 2011:

Credit-default swaps on the company climbed this month as global stocks tumbled and speculative-grade debt issuance all but evaporated. The cost reached as high as 663 basis points on Aug. 11, according to CMA, which is owned by CME Group Inc. and compiles prices quoted by dealers in the privately negotiated market. The contracts have held at prices that imply ILFC’s debt should be rated B2, according to Moody’s Corp.’s capital markets group.

However if they manage to to get an investment grade rating and lower their funding cost, then it could be an interesting investment as funding is cheap and they do have access to a lot of new and sought after aircraft. Again, borrowing from Warren Buffett, with any leveraged company, management is extremely important.

And one should clearly compare AerCaps valuation and risk/return to banks and not to the currently much higher valued corporates. AerCap is much more similar to a bank than anything else. This general valuation disconnect seems to be also one of major reason why GE announced the massive reorganization just 2 weeks ago. However, as far as I understood tehy will keep the leasing business as this is unregulated.

Summary:

Although I slightly disagree with the risk assessment of Einhorn’s case, I still think AerCap could be an interesting case and is worth to dig deeper. I don not have a problem investing into financial companies and I do like those “share overhang” situations. However, I will need to dig deeper and especially try to figure out how good AerCap’s management really is.

(*) I did disagree with David Einhorn already once with Dutch Insurer Delta LLyod which was Einhorn’s long pick of the year 2011. Overall in this case I would put the score of MMI vs. Einhorn at 1:0 as Delta LLoyd did not outperform.

Some links

The Brooklyn investor looks at the JPM annual report and Loews

David Einhorn’s presentation from the Grant’s Investment Conference 2015

A new White Paper from AQR called “Fact, Fiction and Value Investing” (h/t Valuewalk)

Frenzel & Herzing look at Greek company Metka

Is Google the next Microsoft ?

Some interesting thought about the issues in Turkey

And finally, Hedge Fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones wants to change capitalism

The Herbalife “Slugfest”

In my opinion, the most interesting (and entertaining) story in equity markets is the current Herbalife story.

Herbalife is a US based producer and distributor of diet shakes, vitamin pills etc.

Looking at the chart, one can see that until early 2012, Herbalife was one of the “hottest” stocks out there:

Herbalife went public in December 2004 at a price of 14 USD per share. Including a stock split, the stock returned a phenomenal return of ~ 30% p.a. until the end of 2011.

Earnings per share rose more than 10-fold from 0.47 USD per share to more than 4.80 USD in 2011. During the “financial crisis”, the stock suffered but then quickly went back into outperformance mode.

The first “crack” in the success story appeared, when David Einhorn personally dialed into the conference call on May 1st 2012 for the first quarter and started to ask some weird questions.

Two weeks later, when Einhorn spoke at the annual Ira Son conference, the stock bounced back 20% because Einhorn didn’t mention Herbalife. So far I didn’t find out if Einhorn is still short.

The next step in the story is well known, the epic presentation of Bill Ackman why Herbalife is a Pyramid scheme. To reinforce his point, he even set up a dedicated website about his Herbalife short thesis. For Ackman, this is not his first short battle. There is even a book (by the way highly recommended) about his several year long fight against the US mortgage insurers, called “The confidence game”:

However, pretty soon after his presentation, some quite savvy investors and bloggers pointed out some weaknesses in Ackman’s presentation, especially the claim that the Herbalife “scheme” is illegal and the US regulators will have to shut the company down.

One of the first was blogger Kid Dynamite and one of my personal favouritesm, blogger and hedge fund manager John Hempton.

Like sharks smelling blood, some other “famous” hedgefund managers joined the party, most notably Dan Loeb’s Third point which actually took a massive 8% long position in the company. Yesterday, even “activist” legend Carl Icahn came out swinging against Ackman, disclosing a long position in Herbalife.

So this is quite an interesting situation:

On the one side, we have some of the brightest “new generation” HF managers David Einhorn and Bill Ackman against well respected “activists” like Dan Loeb and Carl Icahn as well as extremely clever bloggers like Kid Dynamite and John Hempton.

Last Thursday, Herbalife held an investor day, trying to take on Ackman’s acusations. I found the Herbalife presentation rather unconvincing.

My advice on this:

If you are not a famous investor who can move markets with a presentation, STAY OUT OF THIS !!!!!

Otherwise you will end up like this poor guy, who “joined” Bill Ackman just at the wrong point in time:

The Herbalife story is the proverbial “hot potato” investment one should just enjoy and watch (and learn) instead of joining.

Personally, I think that Loeb and Icahn are only in for the quick rebound and long term Ackman will most likely come out with a nice profit, but I wouldn’t really bet on this, as you might be killed (or squeezed) in the meantime.

So get your popcorn, lean back and enjoy !!!

P.S.: For anyone more deeply interested in “multilevel marketingg companies”, there is a very good detailed post at Seeking Alpha.

Weekly links

New German language blog for small cap stock picking including a model portfolio

Interesting paper on how and if individual investors learn from mistakes

Post mortem analysis of a capital structure arbitrage gone wrong from Valueprax. I think analyzing such trades and writing down the reasons is the most important part for any investor to improve his skills.

Lululemon and the Einhorn effect

Q2 letter summary of the interesting TCI hedge fund. Concentrated activist portfolio. (Mental note: Check Lloyds TSB bonds)

August newsletter from Ennismore, always worth reading. Featured stock: Duni

David Einhorn’s “Go Ups” – a first look (Microsoft Example)

David Einhorn is a guy which is clearly moving the markets these days. When he spoke at the famous Ira Sohn hedge fund conference last week, he even managed to move a stock by not speaking about it (Herbalife).

However, the second part of his presentation which I linked to in the “Weekly links” did not get so much attention but for me, as a Corporate Finance/ capital structure guy is much more interesting:

The “Greenlight Opportunistic Use of Preferreds” – Short Go Up.

First thing to notice: If you want to promote something, make sure you have a great acronym for it…….

Those “Go Ups” should work as follows:

1) A company creates a new class of preferred shares which have a liqidation preference and carry a 4-6% coupon hich only has to be paid at full discretion by the issuing company (although he mentions unpaid coupons are “cumulative”)

2) Those pref shares then get distributed “for free” to the shareholders like with a normal stock split

His basic argument to support is very simple and sounds convincing enough:

There are many great companies with great balance sheets that suffer from low valuation multiples in the current environment, when market participants have enormous appetite to pay for yield, but little appetite to pay for earnings. The traditional advice to such companies is to offer a dividend, but dividends often don’t work. A stock with a low P/E multiple often just becomes a stock with a low P/E and an attractive dividend.

He then adds a spreadsheet which shows his assumption for a couple of cash rich companies like Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Marvel and GM.

To take Microsoft as an example, he calculates the following way:

Microsoft has now a share price of USD 30.21 USD and a market cap of 255 bn USD. With 6.56 USD cash per share and an estimated 2.84 USD Earnings for 2012, you get an P/E of 10.6 including cash and 8.3 excluding cash.

In the next step, he assumes that Microsoft will issue 250 bn of “Go Ups” carrying a coupon of 4% and distributes them pro rata to shareholders (so shareholder would get a nominal of around 30 USD pref on top of the existing shares).

When he then compares the result with the initial market cap, he makes the following assumptions:

1. the 4% pref share trades at par
2. the Microsoft Share trades at the initial “after cash P/E mupliple” of 8.6 based on the reduced earnings (1.66 USD after ref share dividend) plus the unchanged cash position

The sum of that than is 65% higher than current market cap and this is “value unlocked”.

So let’s stop here and summarize what Einhorn is proposing:

If you divide existing cashflows of a company into two seperate securities, the “sum of parts” will be significantly higher than the previous security. This is of coure a punch in the face of all “efficient market” fans who would argue (apart from tax effects) that in theory the total value (Enterprise value) of a company does not change due to capital structure.

So let’s quickly look at the main assumptions of Einhorn which support his case:

1. Equity multiple

His argument is: The stock will trade at the same multiple before and after the “spin off” of the preferred. I would argue that this is at least “optimistic”.

Somwhere in the presentation he mentions that the preferred dividend should be cumulative, meaning that non paid dividend will accumulate and have to be paid at a later date. This is important !!!

If we go back to the Microsoft example, we have the following EPS before and after Go Ups:

2.84 USD per share before Go Up, 1.66 USD after Go Up (1.18 are Go Up interest).

So what happens, if the profit of Microsoft for some reasons falls by -20% ? Without go ups, of course profit per share drops by 20% to ~2.27 USD per share.

With Go Ups, however, we have to distribute the 2.27 USD between the fixed interest of Go Ups (1.18) and shares which results in a 1.09 EPS including Go Ups. Not surprisingly, the change in EPS of (1.66-1.09) = -0.47 is percentage wise much higher with (0.47/1.66) =-27%.

So his first assumption implies that shareholders are indifferent about a higher leveraged EPS which I think is unrealistic.

2. Valuation of Pref share

Einhorn assumes,that the Go Us will trade at par after issuance. How realsitic is that ?

A 4% Microsoft pref share will have a duration of around 26 years. This is even longer than a 30 year treasury bond. 30 Years treasury yield at the moment is around 3%. So Einhorn assumes a 30 year (deeply) subordinated spread for Microsoft is only 1% p.a.

I don’t know how realistic this is, but a deeply subordinated security is of course much more risky than a corporate bond. For instance if Microsfot starts to issue more senior bonds, the subordinated bonds get less and less liuidation value.

It is also important to mention, that such a Go up will react quite sensitive to any changes in interest rates or credit quality of the underlying. If for instance 5% would be th correct yield, with a constant duration of 26, the Go Up will drop 26% in value.

So to summarize this:

Einhorn’s underlying assumptions are very very “optimistic” if not to say (totally) unrealistic. So why is he doing this ? He is for sure one of the smartest investors alive and knows all this stuff much better than I do ?

I think his startegy could work quite well in the short term:

Under his proposal, “normal investors” of course would feel richer. Imagine, you own a Microsoft stock at USD 30 and you suddenly get a 30 USD bond “for free”. The bond (Go up) will be very difficult to value. This leaves a nice “window of opportunity” for the smart guys to profit from mis pricings as the stock price might not dirctly reflect the “true discount” and the Go Ups might trade above “intrinsic value” for some time.

So Einhorn basically tries to create a what I call “special situation” where normal share holders most likely do not know what to do or value the secrities correctly. I am pretty sure, in the long run this will not increase the total Enterprise Value of the sample companies. But in the short run, it could create a nice arbitrage opportunity for hedge funds like Einhorn’s Greenlight and give the stocks a “quick pop”.

As Einhorn owns most of those stocks, one could summarize Einhorn’s proposal as “talking his own book”. Perfectly fair but one should be aware of this. I nevertheless highly doubt that this is changing the theory of Corporate Finance…..

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