Category Archives: What we read

Book review: “Merger Masters – Tales of Arbitrage”

Merger Masters, written by Kate Welling and supported by Mario Gabelli is a book similar to Jack Schwagers “Market Wizards” series, portraying some famous investors.

In this case the focus is on investors who are active mostly in the Merger Arbitrage Business, Some guys are very well known like John Paulson, Paul Singer or guy Wyser-Pratte but from other guys, who keep a low profile, most invetsors might have never heard of.

Personally I wish this book would have been written long ago and that I head read it long ago. It really offeres a very comprehensive view into this relatively arcane world of arbitrage investing with some very suprising insights.

It is also clear that there is not ONE recipe to be successful as an Arb. For instance the question on when to sell when a deal breaks divides these guys into two groups: Some of them say the only way is to sell directly after the news whereas others say that you should never sell directly but wait for a better price. Other notable differences are levels of concentration, use of leverage and if hostile deals are part of the universe or not.

I was also surprised on the depth of fundamental analysis that most of these guys seem to be doing before entering into a deal, at least they claim to do so.

What makes the book really special and even better than the Market Wizard series is the fact that there is also space for the “other side”, CEOs who have fought the Arbs in hostile deals an ultimately won. Most interesting was the story about the take over attempt of Airgas by Air Products which is described in very good detail and how Airgas Managment ultimately won although the odds were highly against them.

The content is clearly US centric, however I think most of the mentioned rules etc. can be applied internationally.

Summary:

Overall, the book is extremely well written and offers a unique deep insight into the M&A arbitrage world. There is a lot of content in the book and I think I have to read it at least a second time to digest all of it.

Overall I can recommend the book highly to any investor, because sooner or later one will be involved in such a situation. For “special situation” investors this book is a MUST. For me clearly one of the best investment books that I have ever read.

Some links

Interesting anual report from the “Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust” which, despite its name is a successful tech/growth fund (from page 11, h/t Monevator)

A wide ranging update from yetanothervalueblog

Blackrock is creating a “forever” PE fund

The number of job postings seems to be a short term leading indicator for the performance of Tech IPO stocks

A great collection of spin-off related links

Farnam Street blog on Jeff Bezos

 

 

Some links

Good article how German Aldi is “disrupting” American grocery retail

Why “technical analysis” in stock prices makes no sense at all

A great analysis of Zillow’s new business model

The UK Value Investor with an in depth look at Cranswick

Portfolio updates from the GlobalStockPicking blog

Is Coca Cola Bottling an easy short ?

And finally the Graham and Doddsville Spring 2019 edition (including an interview with John Hempton, Bronte)

 

 

Some links

Whitney Tilson now has his own website / blog.

According to Andrew Left (Citron), the  recent IPO “The Amazon of Africa” Jumia is a complete fraud

Very Expensive stocks have outperformed now for some time

On Gazprom and why some Value Investments need catalysts

A16Z with a great post on why just having lots of data doesn’t create a defensible moat

Interesting perepctive: What Long term investors can learn from traders

Google is tracking a lot of stuff. For instance all your puchase receipts in Gmail, but free mobile games seem to be a lot worse

 

Some links

An interesting article on how Private Investigators are used by Hedge Fund investors

Some deep research on the planned Genworth Financial take over by China Oceanwide 

Ricegrowers Ltd from Australia could be interestng for investors into agricultural companies

The always brilliant Ben Thompson on Microsoft, Slack, Zoom & SaaS businesses

yetanothervalue blog with a range of thoughts and ideas

A good summary on what’s going on in the “spin-off” area

Fantastic story on a guy who invented algorithmic horse betting

Some links

Jeff Bezos’ letters to Amazon shareholders are the Berkshire letters of the Digital Age

According to its IPO prospectus, Uber isn’t so sure about these self driving taxi fleets

John Kingham (UK Valueinvestor) likes Rightmove

Paladin with an update of their Innogy case and TomTom (German)

Great article from Forbes on Venture Capital all star Andreesen Horowitz (A16Z)

A great story on Rich Barton, the founder of Expedia, Glassdoor and Zillow

Don’t miss: Rob Vinall sharing his thought on the importance of management:

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