ValueAct, An Activist Investor, and Microsoft; SYRIA in a Chart

banker sacrifice

Microsoft Case Study

Is there an opportunity hiding in plain sight? Perhaps a leap spread opportunity? Why did Balmer go now and what can ValueAct help Microsoft do in terms of capital allocation? Perhaps the risk/reward allows for an opportunity? Do you own work. Plus, you can study ValueAct’s other investments.



Ubben-VIC-Presentation VALUE_ACT




Understanding Syria


The chart is a spin-off of the most amazing letter to the editor ever written, whichappeared in Thursday’s Financial Times. It also explained the entire Middle East, in a few short sentences. Here they are:

  • Sir, Iran is backing Assad. Gulf states are against Assad!
  • Assad is against Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood and Obama are against General Sisi.
  • But Gulf states are pro-Sisi! Which means they are against Muslim Brotherhood!
  • Iran is pro-Hamas, but Hamas is backing Muslim Brotherhood!
  • Obama is backing Muslim Brotherhood, yet Hamas is against the U.S.!
  • Gulf states are pro-U.S. But Turkey is with Gulf states against Assad; yet Turkey is pro-Muslim Brotherhood against General Sisi. And General Sisi is being backed by the Gulf states!

Welcome to the Middle East and have a nice day.



Have a good weekend!


5 responses to “ValueAct, An Activist Investor, and Microsoft; SYRIA in a Chart


    the “Syria Rebels” are in fact not one group but many groups, including Al Qaeda, sub groups of Al Qaeda or pro-Al Qaeda and other religious fanatics groups. Some fighting among themselves.

    Which obviously makes it false that Israel is pro-rebels. If Assad falls it can be MUCH worse for Israel. Any new body to rule Syria will not be some liberal/democratic system. The “rebels” are not some pluralistic liberal human rights groups hating Assad because of what he is.The main interest of Israel is to have things stabilize which is why they supported Mubarak for all these years or would have preferred Assaf to stay.

    Again, just like investing the core idea is simple, it’s the concept. The concept behind all of the muslim countries is the keyword “muslim”. It’s about religion. Then it’s about the differences in “muslim religions” such as the difference between shias and sunnis (critical to understanding what’s happening in the gulf states / iran / lebanon etc.). It’s like centuries ago in Europe…

    • Agreed. Tribal warfare. A conflict that the U.S. has no business in. The military industrial complex wants to defend the petro-dollar and needs a pretext for regime change.

      Where was the outrage a decade ago when Saddam used gas on the Kurds and on Iran. The U.S. government has SELECTIVE morals.


    All people have selective morals, and the government, any government, is a temporary grouping of people in a certain point in time.

  3. Regarding MSFT, what does it mean when ValueAct says a “10% Cash-on-Cash requirement?”

    Also, what does he mean when he says “Microsoft is in the plumbing?”

    • Definition of ‘Cash-On-Cash Return’
      A rate of return often used in real estate transactions. The calculation determines the cash income on the cash invested. Calculated as:

      Investopedia explains ‘Cash-On-Cash Return’
      For example when you purchase a rental property, you might put down only 10% for a cash down payment. Cash-on-cash return would measure the annual return you made on the property in relation to the down payment.

      MSFT is in the guts (operating system) of the computer plus they own the software operating system of many PCs (Windows and Microsoft Office)

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