Time to do another “travel series” post after the last Tripadvisor post a few months ago.
GDS – The business
The so-called “GDS” (short form of Global Distribution System) is one of the oldest “platform business” I know about.
Basically (and as far as I understand it), it is a real-time repository of available airplane seats, hotel rooms and rental cars from different suppliers (airlines, Hotels etc.). This repository can then be accessed by travel agents, OTAs etc. in order to book these offers for their ultimate clients. The GDS charge money both for access to the system and transactions. The added value comes clearly from the fact that they act as a single interface to many different back-end systems on the supplier side.
One story which is currently making the rounds is that of Warren Buffett’s huuuuuuuuuuge cash pile or “war chest” at Berkshire.
Bloomberg had an article in May about the 86 bn “war chest” , and then 2 days ago Bloomberg said that his “cash pile” is now close to 100 bn USD.
Speculations are rampant what he could do with it for instance:
As mentioned a few days ago, ALD SA has been IPOed by parent SocGen on June 16th. SocGen sold ~23% of the stock and remains majority shareholder. The first question of course is: why did they do this ?
The official reason was the following:
The IPO confirms the strategic nature of ALD within Societe Generale group. It will allow ALD to accelerate its development and become a leader in a rapidly changing mobility space.
Ted Seides, the author of this book came to some fame because of his 2007 bet with W. Buffett where he claimed that he could pick 5 (hedge) fund-of-fund managers which would outperform the S&P 500 over the next 10 years. He already admitted to have lost before the 10 years end.
I had briefly written about the Metro/Ceconomy Spin-off in January. After some legal hassles, the spin-off took place last week last.
This is what I wrote back then:
With 327 mn shares outstanding, this would translate into ~6,20 EUR per share as a lower bound value for Ceconomy under my (very rough assumptions).
It think at or below this price, Ceconomy could be an interesting “Ugly duck” spin-off investment.
Interestingly, Ceconomy had a very good start, opening around 9,40 EUR and has gone above 10 EUR per share, far above my buying threshold.
Perfomance 6M 2017:
In the first 6 months of 2017, the blog portfolio gained +16,0% (including dividends, no taxes) against 9,28% for the Benchmark (Eurostoxx50 (Perf.Ind) (25%), Eurostoxx small 200 (25%), DAX (30%), MDAX (20%)). Since inception, the score is now +174,6% vs. 89,4% for the benchmark. The full details (and graph) as always on the performance page.
Some other funds that I follow have performed as follows in 6M 2017:
Partners Fund TGV: +10,88%
Squad European Convictions +17,65%
Squad Aguja +9,48%
Ennismore European Smaller Cos 1,87% (in EUR)
Frankfurter Aktienfonds für Stiftungen +10,24%
Evermore Global Value +2,22%
Greiff Special Situation +8,55%
A lot has happened over the last few weeks for my 4 largest special situation investments:
Actelion / Idorsia
The original Actelion idea was very simple: Buy an M&A target at a small discount which is relatively safe and get something (the Idorsia spin-off) extra which no one seemed to have noticed.
Although the case played out exactly as I thought and Idorsia even seems to be worth more than I assumed, I only made around +4% on it. Not bad for around 5 months but not great either.
Looking back I think I made 3 mistakes: