Durden, Tyler . "The Next Big Short: Restaurant Chains." zero hedge | on a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero. Web. 8 Mar. 2011. <http://www.zerohedge.com/article/next-big-short-restaurant-chains>. Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS)'s Andy Lees on why restaurant stocks are about to get crushed...again.
GLAESER, EDWARD L.. "How Seattle Transformed Itself." The Economy and the Economics of Everyday Life - Economix Blog - NYTimes.com. Web. 8 Mar. 2011. <http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/08/how-seattle-transformed-itself/>. The Harvard professor discusses the success of Seattle.
Rahn, Richard. "RAHN: Incorrigible Keynesians." Washington Times - Politics, Breaking News, US and World News. Web. 7 Mar. 2011. <http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/7/incorrigible-keynesians/#>. Article addresses some of the irresponsible practitioners of the Keynesian orthodoxy.
Interest rate spikes, currency devaluations, too-big-to-fails, the SEC and investment theses. These are just a few topics addressed by David Einhorn, co-founder of investment firm Greenlight Capital.
Remember Mr. Einhorn? He is the manager who uncovered alleged fraud at companies such as Allied Capital and Lehman Brothers. Before everyone and their brother realized these allegations were substantiated with clear and verifiable facts, the messenger was vilified.
Given this backdrop, what are some of Einhorn’s opinions and trades of recent? First, he is expecting a major currency collapse and a surge in interest rates in the next 3-5 years (see footnote below). This is evidenced by his large allocation to gold and comments citing imprudent government deficits, among other examples.
Regarding the SEC, Einhorn is unyielding, opining in front of Congress about the SEC’s “crooked culture and lack of enforcement.” Furthermore, he does not leave doubt regarding his thoughts about too-big-to-fail companies: “break them up.” Edward Harrison, founder of the blog Credit Writedowns, summarizes these topics in an article at Seeking Alpha.
For practical investment insights, Einhorn rarely disappoints. Recently he and other investors presented Vodafone Group (UK: VOD) as being undervalued (Jan 2010).
Einhorn’s thesis is based on Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless. Essentially, the trade is considered a “5.5% Inflation Protected Bond with Free Non-Expiring Call Options.”Market Folly summarizes the trade, including the slide below:
Market Folly: Katsenelson's Vodafone Slide
Lastly, it may be worth the effort to conduct due diligence on Moody’s (NYSE: MCO). Buffett has been dumping shares, while Einhorn has been increasing his short position...
--------------------------- Note: Einhorn’s interest rate thesis does not contradict our belief presented earlier this year regarding near-term deflation.
Two reports about strategic M&A and private equity were released recently.
Paul Weiss, a well-known corporate law firm, prepared a concise survey of the top 25 non-financial M&A transactions, highlighted at Research Recap here.The report focuses on terms and characteristics.However, a notable data-point is financial sponsors were nearly nonexistent (accounting for less than 3% of total value in the twelve-months ending July 2009).
The private equity summary was prepared by PitchBook, an independent private equity-focused research firm.The report is updated quarterly and includes value, number, most active firms and sectors, among other criteria.
There were fewer and smaller transactions in comparison to peak 2006-2007 levels, with a reversion to activity during the last recession of 2001-2002.For example, total number and value were down about 55% and 70%, respectively, from twelve-months ending June 2007 to same period of 2009.Also, the median value for buyouts during 1H 2009 was $37 million, down from a 2007 high of $104 million.
Still, private equity firms are originating and closing transactions, but some assert a competitive advantage has shifted to acquirers such as holding companies, strategic buyers, individual investor groups and fundless sponsors.
The argument seems to reference smaller deal-sizes, less, if any, dependence on debt financing, longer-term investment horizons (some prefer to hold indefinitely), a focus on cultivating one or a few investments, and even a more personal approach with family-owned companies.
The implicit point to note about the ebb-and-flow of leveraged transaction volume is all that debt used to finance the record number of deals of yore (at premium valuations) comes due in the next 3-5 years.
For those interested in strategy, adapting to a changing environment, consumer behavioral trends, and, well, outright mismanagement, then analyzing the newspaper and print media industry provides a real-world, in-progress case study.
Although headlines of the death of the newspaper might be an exaggeration at the moment, there is clear and present danger.The business model of newspapers depends on advertising revenue, which comprises about 80% of its total revenue.In 2008, advertising revenue dropped 16.5%, according to the Newspaper Association of America.Barclays Capital projects a 22.0% decline in advertising revenue in 2009 (see Mint.com below).Startling, but also mirroring the economic recession.
Nonetheless, organizations that will most likely survive the economic challenges and thrive will create a new business model, with digital media being more prominent. The extinction of the traditional daily is not likely in the near term, although it will probably play a more niche role.Similar dynamics are occurring with telephones, internet connections, software, music and movies, to name a few.
Mint.com presents a concise one-page visual of key metrics of the top 25 U.S. newspapers.Many others have written about the struggles of print media; Slate.com highlights the strategic and mismanagement aspects of this topic.
Well, that’s all for now, as I need to check my favorite news and entertainment blogs.