Do Profit Margins Actually Matter?

  I often hear confusion among investors and business people equating high profit margins with high returns.  I understand the confusion.  Returns are all that matter in public markets.  Money begets money which begets money.  The faster that begetting happens, the better.  So when looking at businesses with strong historical returns, we might try to… Continue reading Do Profit Margins Actually Matter?

The Baloney of IRR’s

This short note has been prompted by somewhat recent solicitations of our capital.  Or perhaps it's aimed more directly at one venture capital firm - rather a firm that thinks they are venture capitalists because they happen to have access to capital.  They also have an IRR or two that looks impressive which gives them… Continue reading The Baloney of IRR’s

Naspers – Too Good to be True?

I don't understand the market value of Naspers.  I haven't for two years. Today, Naspers trades at a market value of $98.8 billion.  Naspers owns roughly 33% of Tencent. Today, Tencent has a market value of $419.5 billion.  Meaning that per the market's own pricing, Naspers owns $139.7 billion of Tencent.  Think on that for… Continue reading Naspers – Too Good to be True?

Macy’s – to $0?

Macy's is probably a dying business.  They epitomize the American big-box retailer that is under attack.  It's a business that is mostly undifferentiated from any other large department store, yet more depressingly has continued to remain so. Tery Lundgren has been the CEO here since 2004.  He has written books, received philanthropic honors from Carnegie,… Continue reading Macy’s – to $0?

Monroe, Inc. – Fallen Angels, Jockey’s, and more.

When the financial media starts using words like "carnage" to describe an industry or sector of the economy, I love it.  The auto industry has been a favorite punching bag over the past year or so - and despite the press' consistent swings and misses, they continue at it.  The industry and all connected to… Continue reading Monroe, Inc. – Fallen Angels, Jockey’s, and more.

NI Holdings, Inc. – Safe, cheap, and hopefully boring.

There exists a very fortunate error in equity databases, screens, and even SEC filings. There are businesses whose number of shares outstanding is far lower than the number shown in any of the above locations. Let's say there's this business, we'll call it HIV (hidden intrinsic value).  When I look at HIV's data on Google… Continue reading NI Holdings, Inc. – Safe, cheap, and hopefully boring.

On CEO Compensation

This is a topic I hold strong opinions about.  Until Shareholders demand the change, it won't happen.  Indexers, start paying attention and vote.  I worry that as indexing becomes more prevalent, one of the bad outcomes is consolidated voting power.  This may only get harder to change. See: Your stench will never leave us, Robert… Continue reading On CEO Compensation

How much?

There are a few problems with (financial) forecasts and forecasters.  In regards to the former, they're almost always wrong.  In regards to the later, their incentives are not aligned with yours, they have (almost) no repercussions for being wrong, they often only regurgitate what others feed them, and they're insanely celebrated when occasionally right yet… Continue reading How much?