Before ultimate world domination, right now Uber seems to be in some deep trouble.
A good collection of Mungerisms by the always excellent Farnam Street blog
An epic 2016 letter from Semper Augustus with very interesting thoughts on profit margin mean reversion (h/t valueinvestingworld)
An interesting historical comparison of ship brokers Clarkson and Braemar
Joel Greenblatt interview on Wealth Track” ((h/t valueinvestingworld)
Tyler Cowen’s new book “The Complacent Class” looks very interesting
The company / IPO
Trivago is an interesting company. Founded in Germany (where succesful startups are very rare anyway), Expedia acquired the majority (61%) in 2012 for 477 mn EUR. Then, in December 2016 Expedia decided to IPO Trivago on NASDAQ at 11 USD per share (down from an initial range of 13-15 USD).
Interestingly. it is not so easy to find out how many shares are outstanding. The IPO itself comprised 30 mn shares, 20,8 mn new shares and 9,2 mn shares from the founders. Expedia didn’t sell any shares.
To sum it upfront: In my opinion there was nothing “really new” or spectacular in Buffett’s 2016 letter.
Operationally, 2016 was not such a good year for Berkshire, operating profit was flat and book value gain lower than the S&P. Nevertheless Berkshire’s stock price outperformed the S&P 500. Comprehensive income however was very good, around 50% better than 2015 (which was not very good).
Net tangible assets declined to around 170 bn from 186 bn mostly due to the Precision Cast Part acquisition which added more than 40 bn in intangibles.
I made some notes which might be interesting to some reader (or not).
Berkshire share repurchases:
The most interesting part from my side was where he writes about share repurchases in general and Berkshire in particular. I actually know some investors who treat the “Buffett put” at 120% of NAV as a real one, assuming that the stock price can never go below that level. This is what Buffet says:
One of the major “geopolitical” events this year will be the French Presidential election. The first round will be held on 23 April 2017. Should no candidate win a majority, a subsequent final election with the top two candidates will be held on 7 May 2017.
Why bother ?
Well, since I have started the blog, French stocks have been one of the cornerstone of my investment strategy. Despite the bad headline news, I found many good and cheap French companies which contributed significantly to the performance. Currently, I have around 28% of my portfolio invested in France in the following stocks (in % of the portfolio):
- TFF Group (8,0%)
- Installux (4,1%)
- G. Perrier (4,4%)
- IGE & XAO (2,4%)
- Coface (3,1%)
- Thermador (2,9%)
- Dom Security (2,3%)
A logical follow-up to lastminute.com is clearly Expedia. Why ? Well, firstly because I use it personally (for flights) and secondly because it is one of the leading “OTAs”.
Expedia started in 1996 as a division of Microsoft and did an IPO in 1999. They have a pretty detailed company history web page.
Charlie Munger speaks at the AGM of the Daily Journal
The “Becoming Warren Buffett” documentary (h/t Monevator)
Current trends in China (h/t marketfolly)
Great annual letter from Longcast Advisors
A great collection of spin-off reading material (Greenblatt, Munger, Klarman)
Google’s self driving car team already cashed out and left. Still no self driving cars on the road but fatal accidents are rising. I guess car insurance will stay for some time. (h/t Abnormal Returns)