July 20, 2023
I’m excited to share this interview with David Marcus, CEO of the Price Family Office and Evermore Global Advisors. David got his start overseeing European investments for Mutual Series under the legendary investor Michael Price. In 2009, he started Evermore Global, which also has a European focus. When Michael Price unfortunately passed away last year, David was asked to take over the Price Family Office.
I have known David for more than a decade, and we have made it a habit to meet a couple of times each year for lunch to share ideas and views. David is a thoughtful, value-oriented investor with an incredible network in Europe, particularly among the families that lead some of the continent’s most important companies. I am proud to be an investor in Evermore Global. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!
I am also excited to announce Raging Capital Ventures’ second annual Ideas & Networking Conference on September 21, 2023 at the Standard Hotel – High Line in New York City. We have confirmed four outstanding speakers, including:
- Jeff Gramm, General Partner of Bandera Partners and author of Dear Chairman: Boardroom Battles and the Rise of Shareholder Activism.
- Shaun Johnson, General Partner of AIX Ventures, an AI-focused venture fund.
- Elisabeth DeMarse, the former CEO of TheStreet.com and Bankrate.com.
- Jim Waskovich, Managing Partner of Princeton Equity Group, a private equity firm focused on franchisor and multi-unit businesses.
The event will start with lunch at 12:30 PM and conclude with cocktails on the High Line River Terrace starting at 3:30 PM. See below for more information on the Speakers and Agenda and click here to register. Space is limited — I hope you can attend!
Thanks again and enjoy the summer!
William C. Martin
Topics in this Issue of An Entrepreneur’s Perspective:
- Interview with David Marcus: Investing in Great Family Businesses
- Ideas & Networking Conference: Speakers & Agenda, Register Now!
- Recent Podcasts Featuring Bill Martin
- Favorite Podcasts & Media
- Recent Tweets from @RagingVentures
Interview with David Marcus: Investing in Great Family Businesses
David, thanks so much for joining us. You have a very interesting background. To begin, would you tell us a bit about how you got started with investing and how you ended up working with Mutual Series?
Bill, thanks for inviting me to be part of your newsletter. I have been interested in investing since I was a kid. I grew up in a house where my Dad and Uncle owned a small two-man stock brokerage firm. They were always looking for the next IBM or Xerox. I would always be asking why they needed to find the next one? Why not buy those stocks? There was always healthy debate on companies and why they might be good investments. But the thing that put me over the top was when my Uncle Reubin took me to the New York Stock Exchange when I was maybe 14 or 15. Back then, there was a Visitor’s Gallery and a movie on the history and how the place functioned. I was hooked after that and knew my future was on Wall Street in some capacity (Editor’s Note: I have nearly an identical story about visiting the NYSE and getting hooked when I was a teenager!). I would go every Saturday morning with my Dad to the library and take out any books on investing, the stock market and profiles of notable Wall Street people. I just read everything I could find.
I went to Northeastern University in Boston where it’s a unique, 5-year undergraduate program, 4 years of education and three different six-month internships (called co-op) where you had to interview for real jobs, and it was a full-time paid work week. I had completed a co-op at Shawmut Bank in Boston answering customer service calls for Michael Price’s firm called Mutual Series Fund. I wanted to do my last co-op on Wall Street and luckily my boss at the bank recommended me to the people at Mutual Series at 26 Broadway, right around the corner from the New York Stock Exchange. Well, they hired me to work from June to December of 1987 answering calls from shareholders and prospective investors. In October of 1987, there was a market crash. The Dow Jones was down over 20% in one day. These were incredible lessons watching how Michael and his mentor Max Heine reacted during a market crisis and took advantage of opportunities.
At the end of the internship, Michael asked if I wanted a job after I graduated. I started full time in March of 1988 in Short Hills, New Jersey. Michael had moved the firm there from Manhattan. I was working in the back office in the accounting area when Michael called me into his office one day telling me that he needed an assistant on the trading desk. He said that he had already interviewed almost thirty people. They all had “baggage” from learning at other firms. He said he wanted to hire someone that knew “absolutely nothing” and that I was perfectly suited for that! He wanted someone that he could train from the start before they could develop any bad Wall Street habits. Eventually, Michael gave me the chance to get off the trading desk and become an analyst. It was a real meritocracy that rolled up to one person.
What was it like working at Mutual Series with Michael Price? What were some formative investing lessons you learned from him? What made Michael special?
Michael was extremely tough, but fair. The bar was held tremendously high. His primary goal was to make money for the investors. It was always the focal point. If you picked stocks that worked…well, that’s what you were supposed to do. Thus, you did not hear much. However, if you picked a stock that did not do well, everyone heard about it. We were all in one big trading room with the trading desk in the center and the analysts sitting around the periphery of the trading desk. Discussions and debates across the room were the norm. Michael was forever challenging the team on details related to their companies. You had to know what you were talking about. No excuses.
The firm was primarily focused on investing in the U.S. with a much smaller percentage internationally, which was mostly in developed Europe. We learned to dig into the footnotes of the financials of targeted investment cases. Understanding the nuance of the balance sheet, the cap structure and how the business created cash flow. The key was not just to focus on cheap stocks but on what was going to make them less cheap, meaning to go up. Was there a breakup, spinoff, restructuring, or new management coming into a tired old company that had been undermanaged for years? Triggers that could revalue the company were key. But also, the quality of management. Were they value creators or value destroyers? Avoiding significant levels of debt unless it was the bad balance sheet that was creating a unique opportunity to get involved on the credit side. Always looking for mispriced situations. Essentially asking, How can I maximize my investment dollars? Debt, equity, preferred, bank debt, etc. all were potential investments with the right valuation and catalysts.
We also learned how to become the catalyst. Not to get our names in the press, but to push for real shareholder value creation. While there was an element of kill or be killed in the office, we knew we were part of something special. Michael pushed us to develop our networks of management teams, families that controlled businesses and especially the CFOs of companies. In many cases, especially in Europe, great CFOs would become CEOs over time. The network of individuals and companies helped when vetting ideas as they might not know many of the numbers of competitors but could give real depth of perspective on the businesses and people running them. I remember working on an idea and asking Michael if he could call a specific person he knew that owned a distributor for the company I was looking at. He bluntly said, that guy is in my network, you need to build your own network! It was one of those great, straight-to-the-point comments from him that put me on the path of building my own relationships.
There were so many lessons from Michael. However, he was not focused on teaching you. He was focused on creating great returns. You just had to be a sponge absorbing from all the discussions in the office. With conversations of companies going through bankruptcy, M&A either as target company or bidder, arbitrage trading on announced deals, and in my case, encouraging my focus on conglomerates and holding companies which always seemed to have mispriced assets.
Michael also taught that it’s ok to leave money on the table. Deals where multiples parties were winners tended to lead to more great opportunities as people understood we can all win to some degree. This allowed the deal flow to increase substantially.
After running Mutual Series’ European portfolio for some time, you ultimately decided to strike out on your own, launching Evermore Global. Would you share your approach with that fund and how it has evolved over the years?
Just to connect the timeline, note that before starting Evermore I had a circuitous journey for almost ten years. I left Franklin Mutual (Michael Price had sold Mutual Series to Franklin Templeton in 1996) in 2000 to start an investment firm focusing on European small cap special situations. I partnered with Jan Stenbeck who was an incredible visionary in telecom and media headquartered in Sweden. When Mr. Stenbeck suddenly died in 2002, I closed the fund and helped build the family office for his kids, who had inherited his vast empire of more than seven publicly traded companies with businesses across the globe. I also became the Chairman of their U.S. private equity and holding company businesses gaining incredible operating experience.
Once the family was on solid footing, I left to launch the predecessor to Evermore Global, called MarCap Investors, where we built a fund that took a private equity approach to public companies. Our primary focus was on good businesses that stumbled, where we believed we could help get the businesses back on track. A few years later, during the financial crisis, I parted ways with our original backer, a well-known private equity group based in New York. At that point, our business was shrinking just as the opportunities were growing. It was a very frustrating time.
Ultimately, the idea for Evermore Global was to go back to our roots in the mutual fund world. Bringing all the knowledge that we had amassed from working with Michael, partnering with Jan, sitting on boards, helping set strategy and restructuring businesses. These were areas not normally part of mutual fund type funds. Our focus was on cheap stocks with catalysts. We evolved from various successes and mistakes to a realization that it really comes down to having exceptionally good leadership and a solid business where the underlying business is growing. These investments have created the most value for us over the years. Even in cases where there was a liquidation, they were holding companies where the underlying businesses were growing but the holding company did not need to exist. They did exceptionally well.
More recently, you’ve positioned the fund to focus on great family businesses in Europe. What made you move in this direction?
It has really been an evolution in our thinking over the last thirty years. We had hit our peak assets as we were coming off a really good year in 2019. Then the pandemic hit in early 2020 and we had a really tough run and a significant decline in assets. At some point, I looked back and started thinking about that phrase where people say, “I didn’t get stupid overnight”, but I started to wonder if I got “stupid over time!” I asked Thomas O, who had been an assistant portfolio manager, and for the last two years, the co-manager of the Fund, to review of all the investments we had made since we launched Evermore Global at the beginning of 2010. We wanted to really understand what we got right and wrong and see what patterns evolved. We spent almost eighteen months extensively reviewing everything.
The biggest discovery from the analysis was that companies where there was a main shareholder or family or perhaps a few families controlling the public company grossly outperformed everything else we invested in. The results were dramatic, but not surprising. Family-controlled businesses tend to invest for the long term. They generally do not focus on quarter-by-quarter results but instead make decisions that should create real sustainable value over time. We saw this over and over in the data. Yet, our portfolios only had a modest percentage allocated in these types of businesses. Then we expanded the analysis and found that there was all kinds of data available on family controlled businesses and how they have performed and evolved over time. In some cases, over many generations.
Obviously, not every family-controlled business is led by a dynamic value creator. We must still do our own analysis on the underlying businesses and make a judgement call on the leadership. This is where our extensive network of relationships really kicks in as we work to vet these types of businesses. As a result of this work, we have been dramatically increasing the percentage of our portfolio that is invested in companies that are controlled by a family group. The most important part of the analysis shows that, over time, portfolios with these types of companies have generally outperformed the major indexes. It is really remarkable.
Can you tell us a bit about a few of your favorite family businesses in Europe?
I’ll start with Exor (EXO.AS or OTC: EXXRF), which is a $21.7 billion market cap holding company for the Agnelli family of Italy. Through its stake in the listed auto group Stellantis (STLA), the fourth largest auto OEM that Exor helped to form via Fiat Chrysler’s merger with Peugeot, Exor controls Ferrari, Fiat, Chrysler, Maserati, Peugeot, Alfa Romeo and a number of other brands. They also control the soccer club Juventus, 43% of the Economist magazine, 24% of Louboutin (the famous red sole shoes and accessories global luxury brand) and a myriad of other businesses.
The head of the family is John Elkann, great-great grandson of Giovanni Agnelli, the founder of Fiat. He has done an admirable job of building great business franchises through acquisitions, portfolio harvesting, and targeted investments within portfolio companies. Since the creation of Exor in 2009 through 2022, the company’s NAV per share has compounded at an impressive 17.6% CAGR.
Exor makes long-term investments in companies primarily in Europe and Asia, but with global reach, and often in partnership with founding families. In recent years, Exor has shifted its emphasis to less capital-intensive business such as luxury fashion houses and other enduring franchises (Shang Xia, Christian Louboutin, The Economist, etc.). We believe this shift will continue to steepen the trajectory of compounding to investors as these are higher margin, higher growth businesses.
Lastly, the $9 billion sale of PartnerRe to Covéa provides significant equity firepower for compelling future acquisitions at Exor.
Moving on to Bolloré (BOL.PA, OTC: BOIVF), with a market cap of $19.5 billion, Bolloré is a 200-year-old holding company controlled by Vincent Bolloré, an aggressive value creator with a proven track record. Bolloré controls media assets through its 29% stake in Vivendi (VIV.PA, VIVHY), an integrated content, media and communications conglomerate that controls Universal Music Group (UMG), Canal+ and Havas; as well as stakes in Mediaset (29%), Telecom Italia (24%), Spotify (5%) and various other assets.
While not a central part of our investment thesis, we believe a further simplification of the complicated crossholding structure is a possible scenario. Bolloré is essentially controlled by intermediate holding companies, which in turn, own direct and indirect stakes in Bolloré. Elimination of the treasury shares implicit in the crossholdings should be extremely accretive.
The company is in the midst of a dramatic transformation. The company has come a long way from the mid-1990s, when I first met Vincent who has proven to be a prolific value creator. More recently, Mr. Bolloré has been handing more control to the seventh generation of the family. His son Yannick is now the Chairman of Vivendi and his younger son Cyrille is the Chairman of the main holding company, which is this listed company that we have been shareholders of for many years now.
2023 has been an active year for the company thus far. Bolloré recently sold its ports and logistics business for €5.7 billion to MSC (closed 1Q 2023). In early July, Bolloré agreed to sell its logistics business to CMA CGM Group for €4.65 billion. Also, Bolloré launched a tender for 9.8% of the company for €5.75 per share (plus contingent €0.25 per share earnout payment, paid upon finalization of the sale of the logistics business). Ultimately, Bolloré will now have net cash and the firepower for a potential acquisition or possibly a full takeover of Vivendi. We believe the company will continue to evolve over the next few years as this refocusing continues.
Do you have any other favorite investment ideas?
I sure do. Cadeler (CADLR.NO) is a Denmark-based $880 million market cap offshore wind turbine installation vessel operator. The company specializes in the transport and installation of monopile foundations and offshore wind turbines as well as a wide range of offshore services including operations and maintenance (O&M).
Cadeler is one of the few pure play offshore wind installation vessel operators in the world. Since 2010, the company has installed over 280 wind turbines and 400 foundations, making it the largest preeminent offshore wind installation company with over 50% global market share. Founded in 2008, Cadeler was 100% acquired in 2010 by the Swire Pacific Group, a Hong Kong-listed holding company and was formerly named Swire Blue Ocean. Due to liquidity needs to address financial issues in its underlying companies, Swire Pacific was a forced seller and listed Cadeler on the Oslo Børs in November 2020. Swire Pacific now owns a residual 15% and a new strategic partner, BW Group, came in as a cornerstone investor (30% stake) on the IPO at the same terms. The BW Group is a well-regarded maritime and green-related holding company managed by the long-term oriented value creator, Andreas Sohmen-Pao.
With wind turbines getting larger and the European Union’s strong stance on renewables and green initiatives, we believe that the need for bigger wind turbine capacity will grow substantially over the next 5 to 10 years. The majority of offshore wind farms being installed today have turbines of 8-to-10-megawatt capacity with the next generation turbines from Vestas and Siemens increasing to 10-to-12-megawatt capacity. By 2030, it is likely that turbines will need to be substantially larger, at 20 megawatts or more, in order to meet the EU requirements for carbon footprint reduction. Offshore wind capacity is expected to increase by a factor of 6 times by 2030. Given the limited supply of modern vessels to handle such increased capacity, Cadeler is extremely well positioned to be the beneficiary of this global structural shift to green initiatives.
Just this past June, Cadeler announced a transformative merger with a large competitor, Eneti (NETI, $518 million market cap), in an all-stock deal which is expected to close in the fourth quarter. We also own Eneti in our Fund, which was formerly Scorpio Bulkers, a dry bulk operator that transitioned out of the dry bulk into the offshore wind in August 2020. In fact, Eneti’s decision to make this dramatic shift into the nascent offshore wind sector was the impetus for us to start doing work on the sector, even before Cadeler came to the market. This is a game-changing merger that solidifies Cadeler as the largest offshore wind vessel operator in the world with significant operational synergies.
The U.S. has been struggling through a period of banking stress due to the sharp rise in interest rates. Yet, in Europe, rates were even lower and even negative for many years. How are the banking problems not much greater in Europe?
European banks have survived through all kinds of crisis periods and have historically had terrible flare ups and bank failures. Most recently, Credit Suisse was forced to be acquired by UBS in March of this year. Deutsche Bank has come back from the brink several times over the years. The biggest changes were implemented after the financial crisis. The system in place in Europe tends to act quickly to protect the bank customers. Europe is dominated by groups of mega banks. Ultimately, I believe that the tighter regulations in Europe have made a significant difference. European banks have much stricter capital requirements. All this said, we have seen banking contagion spread around the globe. It’s too early to say Europe will not be affected, especially as a real estate crisis has been building across the region over the last few years.
Do you have a view on how the European economy evolves amid all the geopolitical crosscurrents? Outside of Germany, how can these economies be productive enough to compete with the scale and technology leadership of China and the USA?
There has been an incredible amount of innovation in Europe over the last few years. Besides Germany, which has engineering, industrial components and technology, the Nordic region has been rampant with innovation in medtech, oil & gas technology and an aggressive focus on renewables. I believe that many U.S.-based investors do not fully understand how vibrant the R&D focus is in many parts of Europe. In fact, a lot of M&A activity from U.S. buyers of key technology is on companies based in the more developed European markets.
Most recently, after the unfortunate passing of Michael Price, you became in charge of his family office (in addition to still running Evermore). What does this role entail?
It’s an incredible undertaking actually. First of all, I must say that being asked to take on this role is a huge honor and responsibility. In the early days, estate settlement issues, taxes, bequests and many types of obligations had to be honored and satisfied. A family office, unlike a fund management firm, has permanent capital. This allows for a broader scope of investment opportunities beyond equities. It can be real estate, private equity, venture cap and many other investment situations. Sharing ideas and comparing notes with other families and family offices is also a vibrant area for idea generation. It’s all about patience. The goal is to compound well over time.
In our specific case, Michael left an incredible legacy of investments of all kinds. His mentorship, guidance and training of virtually all the people in the group makes this a unique situation. In addition to the family office, there is a fund that is run by an investment team trained by Michael over the years. MFP Investors LLC, which is the asset management business that Michael Price built after he sold his firm to Franklin Templeton (creating Franklin Mutual), acquired the assets of my firm, Evermore Global Advisors. The co-portfolio manager of Evermore Global Value Fund joined us at MFP as did our head of operations who oversees the operations of the combined assets.
We now have combined research meetings sharing the wealth of knowledge from our various research. While the MFP Fund and Evermore Global Value Fund are managed by different teams, we share ideas at weekly research and discussion meetings. Since Evermore focuses more on Europe and parts of Asia, and MFP on the U.S., we can share perspectives on global situations. In the long run, this should create a real knowledge leverage effect that should benefit the whole firm. It also provides incredible research capabilities for the family office side as we evolve to the next chapter past the estate settlement and increase the focus on long term compounding for the family.
Great stuff. Thank you and good luck!
Ideas & Networking Conference – Speakers & Agenda
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21st, 2023 – 12:30 PM
THE STANDARD HOTEL – HIGH LINE, NEW YORK CITY
THE HIGH LINE ROOM – 3RD FLOOR
LUNCH, SPEAKERS, & COCKTAILS ON THE RIVER TERRACE
William C. Martin, Raging Capital Ventures
Bill will guide you through an exciting day of thought-provoking “Fireside Chats” and interactive discussion. Learn more about emerging trends in technology, private equity, and the economy — as well as hear a few actionable investment ideas! You can view Bill’s bio here.
12:30 PM // Meet and Greet
1:00 PM // Welcome
1:30 PM // Guest Speakers
3:30 PM // Cocktails on the River Terrace
Jeff Gramm, Bandera Partners
Jeff Gramm manages Bandera Partners, a $360 million value-oriented hedge fund. His book, Dear Chairman: Boardroom Battles and the Rise of Shareholder Activism was named one of the best books of 2016 by the Financial Times. It has been praised as “a terrific read” by Andrew Ross Sorkin in the New York Times, “a revelation” by the Financial Times, “a grand story” by James Grant in The Wall Street Journal, and “an engaging and informative book” by The New Yorker. Warren Buffett has praised the book and included it in the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting bookstore. Charles Schwab wrote about Dear Chairman, “It should be required reading for anyone who wants to participate in our great ownership system, as investor or manager.”
Jeff taught Applied Value Investing at Columbia Business School from 2011 to 2016. He has served on six public company boards, given talks about corporate governance all over the world, and delivered guest lectures at various business schools including Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, Penn, MIT, UVA and NYU.
Jeff graduated with honors from the University of Chicago, and received an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Shaun Johnson, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at AIX Ventures
Shaun is a cofounder and Managing Partner at AIX Ventures. Shaun was previously VP of Engineering, Product, and Design at Lilt and VP of Product and Design at NimbleRx.
He completed his MBA from UC Berkeley, MSEE from Stanford University, and BSEE from the University of Texas at Austin. In his personal time, Shaun enjoys snowboarding, traveling, and spending time with his family.
Elisabeth DeMarse, CEO and President of DeMarseCo, Inc.
Elisabeth DeMarse is CEO and President of DeMarseCo, Inc., which she founded in 2005. She is an information and media industry veteran with broad experience in the digital information business, traditional media (television, radio, book and magazine publishing) and new media. Her particular expertise is developing new products and brands. She is a financial services industry expert with extensive US and international business experience in financial information and technology. Her 20-year employment history includes executive leadership positions with such prestigious entities as Bloomberg L.P., where she was one of the principal architects of the company’s expansion and growth, Hoover’s, Inc., Bankrate, Inc., CreditCards.com, Newser, LLC., TheStreet, Inc., and Citibank. Elisabeth DeMarse currently serves on the Board of Directors at [K]ubient and AppNexus Inc.
Her broad range of functional expertise includes: management; top-line growth; technology; operations; brand strategy; marketing; new business ventures; deal negotiations; acquisitions; business turnarounds; and innovative new product development. She is recognized for developing and leading high profile businesses and as an industry spokesperson.
A member of The Committee of 200, DeMarse is a cum laude graduate of Wellesley College, where she was a Durant Scholar, and has an MBA from Harvard Business School, with an emphasis in marketing.
James A. Waskovich, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Princeton Equity Group
Jim co-leads the investment activities of Princeton Equity Group, a private equity firm focused on control investments in companies with franchisor or multi-unit business models. Prior to co-founding Princeton, Jim spent nearly 20 years as a private equity investor at Summit Partners, ABS Capital, and Princeton Ventures, which he founded in 2006. Jim is also the Founder and Chairman of Princeton Medspa Partners, a leading consolidator and franchisor in the noninvasive medical aesthetics industry..
Jim’s current investments include Accelerated Brands (the parent company to Strickland Brothers and Trademark Car Wash), Card My Yard, D1 Training, Ellie Mental Health, Five Star Franchising (the parent company to 1-800-Packouts, 1-800-Textiles, Bath Solutions, Bio-One, Gotcha Covered, Mosquito Shield, and ProNexis), the International Franchise Professionals Group, Stellar Brands (the parent company to Bluefrog Plumbing + Drain, Restoration 1, Softroc, and The Driveway Company), and Stretch Zone. His previous investment experience includes European Wax Center (acquired by General Atlantic), HOPCo (acquired by Audax and Linden), Massage Envy (acquired by Roark Capital) and Radiance Holdings (the parent company to Sola Salon Studios and Woodhouse Day Spa; acquired by TSG Consumer).
Jim holds a B.S. in Economics and Politics from Washington & Lee University where he was a George Washington Scholar.
Recent Podcasts Featuring Bill Martin
Meb Faber Podcast, “Short Seller Bill Martin Bet Against Silicon Valley Bank in January. Here’s Why”
Excited to share my recent podcast with @MebFaber. We discussed Silicon Valley Bank, short selling, private markets (including our early investments in Facebook & Toast), and current stock ideas: Somalogic, Alphawave, LibertySirius & (short) Coinbase.
Big Ideas Podcast: “Bill Martin on SVB’s Collapse and What Happens Next”
Really enjoyed this wide-ranging Big Ideas podcast, which started with discussion of Silicon Valley Bank but then moved onto interest rates, corporate governance (or the lack thereof), ESG, crypto, geopolitics, inflation, and more. I also shared some thoughts on who’s at fault for the failure of Silicon Valley Bank.
Favorite Books & Media
Freakonomics: Ari Emanuel Is Never Indifferent
This podcast features an entertaining interview with Ari Emanuel, the famous talent manager who runs the Endeavor Group. Emanuel covers a lot of ground, discussing everything from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), to how he almost purchased Formula One, to his health and fitness regime, to his relationships with George Gilder and Elon Musk. He notes that his “superpower” is his willingness to pick up the phone, call anyone, and ask a lot of questions and get information. Emanuel advises young people to be “comfortable being uncomfortable”, “to show up and be consistent in your efforts”, to “be curious”, and “to never be indifferent.”
Tetragrammaton with Rick Rubin: Phil Jackson Interview
In a long and winding (but compelling) interview, Rick Rubin interviews former NBA player and coach, Phil Jackson. Jackson shares a lot of great stories from his career, including about his time as a player for the NY Knicks, how he became coach of the Chicago Bulls, and what it was like coaching Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman. He also shares insights into his coaching philosophy and how he manages players, as well as observations about how the game of basketball has evolved over time.
Meb Faber Show: Sam Zell – The Grave Dancer on Private REITs, the Macro Landscape, & Timeless Investing Wisdom
In an interview that was completed just prior to Mr. Zell’s unfortunate passing, Sam Zell covers a range of topics, including a overview of his career, the history of the REIT industry, and his general approach to doing business. He also covers the current macro landscape and provides a fairly dismal outlook for most real estate sectors. This is well worth a listen.
Paul Graham Essay: “How to do Great Work”
This is an awesome, must-read essay by one of the founders of Y Combinator. The lessons are in the same vein of Rick Rubin’s new book, “The Creative Act”, of which I am also a huge fan.
George Gilder: Life After Capitalism
George Gilder, one of my favorite thinkers and authors (which we interviewed in one of our early newsletters: An Entrepreneur’s Perspective – Life After Silicon – Raging Capital (ragingcapitalventures.com), has published a new book that shares his “information theory of economics,” as he digs into his key ideas that include “Wealth is knowledge”, “Growth is learning,” “Information is surprise” and “Money is time.” As always, Gilder’s writing is luminescent, with incredible power and vocabulary. Interestingly, a portion of the book explores “time prices”, which is a new way of measuring the purchasing power of money. George shows that we are living in an era of unparalleled abundance, as the purchasing power of our work continues to radically advance across nearly all goods and commodities, thanks to society’s constant learning and growth of knowledge. This book really makes you think, yet is an easy and quick read.
A Selection of Recent Tweets from @RagingVentures:
$SLGC has been for sale the past few weeks, creating an attractive entry point ahead of the formal launch of its $ILMN partnership over the next 2-3 Qs. New mgmt is sharpening focus and execution, yet stock still trades at significant discount to its $500 mm of cash on hand. https://t.co/WETHmjkV4r
— Raging Capital Ventures (@RagingVentures) June 23, 2023
$BXSL increased their qtrly div to 77 cents from 70 cents, noting the “continued strong earnings” & “quality” of its primarily floating-rate, senior secured debt portfolio. This is good for an 11.7% yield at $BXSL’s current stock price, which is also up nicely in recent months. https://t.co/KNn4n1ZjEQ
— Raging Capital Ventures (@RagingVentures) June 21, 2023
Some higher octane (but fairly mediocre fundamental) names that have run hard and fast as of late, with plenty of room to the downside if sentiment were to shift: $SOFI, $JOBY, $IONQ, $CRDO, $GLBE, $PLTR
— Raging Capital Ventures (@RagingVentures) June 16, 2023
Endless brand new $TSLA car inventory, parked at Princeton’s Quakerbridge Mall parking lot (dealership is the across Route 1).
Ordinarily, there are just a few rows of new cars parked here. pic.twitter.com/hwosl8PMC4
— Raging Capital Ventures (@RagingVentures) June 3, 2023
Played golf today with a commercial real estate lending broker that’s focused on the NY/NJ/PA/CT markets. Says he does biz with over 80+ banks, many of them local. Today, only about 10% of these banks are actively lending. Everyone else paused lending after $SIVB. 1/3
— Raging Capital Ventures (@RagingVentures) May 25, 2023
$EFX.TO / $EFXT had a clean Q1, thanks to project completions, merger synergies, and a strong macro backdrop. Enerflex should end ‘23 at sub 2.5x leverage, enabling capital returns and growth investments next year. Stock trades at around 4x pro-forma FCF and remains a favorite. https://t.co/Q73dWtNW26
— Raging Capital Ventures (@RagingVentures) May 8, 2023
After way too many years, $TRUP is finally crashing, down -35% today and more than -80% from its highs. We fought $TRUP unsuccessfully on the short-side for years (thesis from Q2 2018 below!). Ironically, the underlying numbers today aren't much different than they were back… pic.twitter.com/oRG5oH0vO1
— Raging Capital Ventures (@RagingVentures) May 5, 2023
The Fed should man up and let the uninsured $FRC depositors take a haircut. Few bank failures have been more well-telegraphed.
$FRC’s mortgage loan book is going to be a political powder keg; avoiding a total bailout might sell better.
And capitalism would be better served…
— Raging Capital Ventures (@RagingVentures) May 1, 2023
China observations from a friend who just spent a month there:
– Economy is improved but not robust. Younger folks are spending with no worries; older generation is hoarding due to geopolitical and job loss worries.
– Border with Hong Kong is fairly wide open.
– High speed…
— Raging Capital Ventures (@RagingVentures) April 26, 2023
$FRC lost $100 b in deposits in Q1 (excl inflows from $30 b backstop), but did not sell down any securities. Mgmt says it is focused on restructuring the balance sheet, reducing short-term borrowings, and cutting costs (including pending 20-25% layoff).
Unless the Fed pivots…
— Raging Capital Ventures (@RagingVentures) April 24, 2023
Have really been leaning into $AAON short over the past week. Valuation is beyond stretched. Their HVAC backlog is robust, so near term numbers should be fine, but things should roll over later this year as existing projects are completed and new activity slows.
— Raging Capital Ventures (@RagingVentures) April 21, 2023
$SCHW lost over $40 b of low-cost deposits in Q1. “Higher for longer” interest rates would not be good for them.
Great franchise, but can’t see how regulators don’t lean on them to de-risk their bank by raising equity capital and/or selling assets.
— Raging Capital Ventures (@RagingVentures) April 17, 2023
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