Tag Archives: Greenwald

Pop Quiz on Competitive Advantages–What Would You Advise?

CHANGE18-tv-paper

QUIZ: Discuss in a few words the mistakes made in these recent acquisitions in the newspaper business. If you wanted to develop an advantage in newspapers how would you do it.  (Hint: What is the most profitable news magazine in the world–or close to it?)

How would you advise Bezos to enhance his purchase of the Washington Post?

Good luck.

Case Studies on Newsweek and Boston Globe

For those struggling, I suggest reading, The Curse of the Mogul: What’s Wrong with the World’s Leading Media Companies by Jon Knee and Bruce Greenwald

I will weigh in at the end of the week.

 

A Reader’s Question on Greenwald’s Valuation Slides

polar-bears1

A Reader’s Question

Hey John,
 
Thanks for sharing and giving advice on my previous query. I am interning in a fund that practices value investing philosophy now and learning at a much faster pace than as a retail investor. Institutional investors certainly have more firepower when it comes to gathering more information. Had me pointlessly worrying why my knowledge of industries was so shallow as a retail investor ha ha  ha. But no excuses for not read up broadly and extensively! 
 
Came across these slides.
One of them is on Jae Jun’s site. Not sure whether you have came across it. The reunion presentation slides contained some workings which I think is Greenwald’s? (Downloaded it off Columbia’s site)
 
I believe they could shed some light on how Prof. Greenwald measures business returns. (You audited his classes before, maybe you would know better)
 
Some questions that I have:
 
From EPV slide:
1) Slide 35& 42: I don’t quite really understand the steps. For slide 42, I think this might be the workings for slide 35. Don’t quite really understand them either. How did he get cash and the growth rate. And what is option.
2) Slide 36: Why does he use 2 methods to calculate the expected return for each respective market?
 
From the reunion presentation slides: It is largely similar to the EPV slides except the last few slides that are handwritten. For Gannett, I can’t decipher the workings without any context. No idea how to get distribution, organic growth or reinvestment. Needless to say, clueless for the Walmart and Amex returns as well.
 
I think a more quantitative approach to calculate the expected rate of return would be more useful in determining intrinsic value and Greenwald presents us his way of doing it.
 
How I would value a company is for instance, Company W earns $50million for FY 2012. By determining the expected return (X), we can take 50/X to determine the value of the business. Reading the way how Buffett valued Mid Continent Tab, he seems to approach valuation this way. But of course, he has a deep understanding of the industry such that he is able to project an accurate return. 
 
Not sure if you or your readers could help out. 
 
My reply: Ok, CSInvesting readers are the smartest in the world, so I will let them have first crack at your questions before I chime in. …I will be back later to answer. 
Pump and Dump Alert: Pump and Dump_SEC
 

VENICE – The run-up in gold prices in recent years – from $800 per ounce in early 2009 to above $1,900 in the fall of 2011 – had all the features of a bubble. And now, like all asset-price surges that are divorced from the fundamentals of supply and demand, the gold bubble is deflating.

This illustration is by Barrie Maguire and comes from <a href="http://www.newsart.com">NewsArt.com</a>, and is the property of the NewsArt organization and of its artist. Reproducing this image is a violation of copyright law.
Illustration by Barrie Maguire
Good Advice:http://www.321gold.com/editorials/moriarty/moriarty060313.html    Buy gold mining shares…………..

Gold XAU

More Greenwald Videos; Canadian Value Inv. Blog; The Panic of 1893 (The Silver Panic)

Videos on Greenwald (2012) and Other Investors: http://www.grahamanddoddsville.net/

A GREAT VALUE INVESTING RESOURCE: http://valueinvestorcanada.blogspot.com/    (Check it out!)

The Panic of 1893

In  the years preceding the outbreak of the panic, the nation’s money was victim to flagrant mismanagement by the Federal Government. The policies of Washington drove gold out of the country and hence undermined the sanctity of gold contracts, raised the distinct possibility of an abrupt switch to a depreciated silver standard, and introduced a confusing system of no less than nine different currencies. Worst of all, however, the federal government engineered a currency and credit expansion which made panic and depression inescapable. The day of reckoning arrived when the weight of these political interventions brought the economy to its knees. The Panic of 1893 was a crisis of political interference.


The Panic of 1893 and other factors had a lasting impact. The depression of the 1890s did not fully abate until 1897. One response to the series of failures and bankruptcies was an upsurge in business consolidations.

Video Lecture: Valuing Growth: Liz Claiborne

I posted this before November 7, 2011, but now I embedded the documents for easier access. Also, there is a link to the video. I will keep putting links to videos rather than have a value vault so everyone can have access and I don’t have to keep sending keys.

Liz Claiborne

So what is the company worth? Show your work. Don’t cheat yourself–do the work BEFORE clicking on my notes or the video lecture!

Jan 01, 2000 10-K for Liz Claiborne. Liz-Claiborne-10-K-Jan-1-2000

Video Lecture: just click and download the Greenwald video lecture: https://www.yousendit.com/download/T2dkOGNVdGpPSHdVV01UQw

Solution and Lecture notes to valuation of Liz Claiborne: Greenwald-Class-Notes-5-Liz-Claiborne-Valuing-Growth-2

Compare this lecture to a standard overview of valuation techniques: Equity-Research-and-Valuation-B-Kemp-Dolliver

Valuation from a Strategic Perspective, Part 1: Shortcomings of the NPV Approach to Valuation

Review

For beginners and a review of Present Value—see these 10 minute videos: http://www.khanacademy.org/finance-economics/core-finance/v/introduction-to-present-value and  http://www.khanacademy.org/finance-economics/core-finance/v/present-value-2 and http://www.khanacademy.org/finance-economics/core-finance/v/present-value-3

and Discounted Present Value: http://www.khanacademy.org/finance-economics/core-finance/v/present-value-4–and-discounted-cash-flow

Prof. Damodaran’s Handout on NPV:DCF Basics by Damodaran

Prof. Greenwald Lecture Notes (See pages 10-13 on NPV Valuation):OVERVIEW Value_Investing_Slides

And The Dangers of Using DCF (Montier and Mauboussin)

CommonDCFErrors (Montier) and dangers-of-dcf (Mauboussin)

Part I: What are the three major shortcomings of using the Net Present Value Approach (“NPV”) to valuing companies?

The NPV approach has three fundamental shortcomings. First, it does not segregate reliable information from unreliable information when assessing the value of a project. A typical NPV model estimates net cash flows for several years into the future from the date at which the project is undertaken, incorporating the initial investment expenditures as negative cash flows. Five to ten years of cash flows are usually estimated explicitly. Cash flows beyond the last date are usually lumped together into something called a “terminal value.” A common method for calculating the terminal value is to derive the accounting earnings from the cash flows in the last explicitly estimated year and then to multiply those earning by a factor that represents an appropriate ratio of value to earnings (i.e., a P/E ratio). If the accounting earnings are estimated to be $12 million and the appropriate factor is a P/E ratio of 15 to 1, then the terminal value is $180 million.

How does one arrive at the appropriate factor, the proper price to earnings ratio? That depends on the characteristics of the business, whether a project or a company, a terminal date. It is usually selected by finding publicly traded companies whose current operating characteristics resemble those forecast for the enterprise in its terminal year, and then looking at how the securities markets value their earnings, meaning the P/E at which they trade. The important characteristics for selecting a similar company are growth rates, profitability, capital intensity, and riskiness.

This wide range of plausible value has unfortunate implications for the use of NPV calculations in making investment decisions. Experience indicates that, except for the simplest projects focused on cost reduction, it is the terminal values that typically account for by far the greatest portion of any project’s net present value. With these terminal value calculations so imprecise, the reliability of the overall NPV calculation is seriously compromised, as are the investment decisions based on these estimates.

The problem is not the method of calculating terminal values. No better methods exist. The problem is intrinsic to the NPV approach. A NPV calculation takes reliable information, usually near-term cash flow estimates, and combines that with unreliable information, which is the estimated cash flows from a distant future that make up the terminal value. Then after applying discount rates, it simply adds all these cash flows together. It is an axiom of engineering that combining good information with bad information does not produce information of average quality. The result is bad information, because the errors from the bad information dominate the whole calculation. A fundamental problem with the NPV approach is that it does not effectively segregate good from bad information about value of the project.

A second practical shortcoming of the NPV approach to valuation is one to which we have already alluded. A valuation procedure is a method from moving from assumptions about the future to a calculated value of a project which unfolds over the course of that future. Ideally, it should be based on assumptions about the future that can reliable and sensibly be made today. Otherwise, the value calculation will be of little use.

For example, a sensible opinion can be formed about whether the automobile industry will still be economically viable twenty years from today. We can also form reasonable views of whether Fort or any company in the industry is likely. Twenty years in the future, to enjoy significant competitive advantages over the other automobile manufacturers (not likely). For a company such as Microsoft, which does enjoy significant competitive advantages today, we can think reasonable about the chances that these advantages will survive the next twenty years, whether they will increase, decrease, or continue as is.

But it is hard to forecast exactly how fast Ford’s sales will grow over the next two decades, what its profit margins will be, or how much will be requires to invest per dollars of revenue. Likewise, for a company like MSFT, projecting sales growth and profit margins is difficult for its current products and even more difficult for the new products that it will introduce over that time. Yet these are the assumptions that have to be made to arrive at a value based on NPV analysis. (See page 10 of Greenwald notes-link on blog post).

It is possible to make strategic assumptions about competitive advantages with more confidence, but these are not readily incorporated into an NPV calculation. Taken together, the NPV approach ‘s reliance on assumptions that are difficult to make and its omission of assumptions that can be made with more certainty are a second major shortcoming.

A third difficulty with the NPV approach is that it discards much information that is relevant to the calculation of the economic value of a company. There are two parts to value creation. The first is three sources that are devoted to the value creation process, the assets that the company employs. The second part is the distributable cash flows that are created by these invested resources. The NPV approach focused exclusively on the cash flows. In a competitive environment, the two will be closely related. The assets will earn ordinary –the cost of capital—returns. Therefore, knowing the resource levels will tell a good deal about likely future cash flows.

But if the resources are not effectively, then the value of the cash flows they generate will fall short of the dollars invested. There will always be other firms that can do better with similar resources, and competition from these firms will inevitably produce losses for the inefficient user. Even firms efficient in their use of resource may not create excess value in their cash flows,  so long as competition from equally environment, resource requirements carry important implications about likely future cash flows, and the NPV approach takes no advantage of this information.

All these criticisms of NPV would be immaterial if there were no alternative approach to valuation that met these objections. But in fact there is such an alternative. It does segregate reliable from unreliable information; it does incorporate strategic judgments about the current and future state competition in the industry; it does pay attention to a company’s resources. Because this approach had been developed and applied by investors in marketable securities, starting with Ben Graham and continuing through Warren Buffett and a host of others, we will describe this alternative methodology in the context of valuing a company as a whole in Part II.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND

VALUATION from a Strategic Perspective: Improving Investment Decisions

Chapter 16 from Competition Demystified

By now you realize that you need to focus most of your attention as an investor on understanding the particular business, the industry and the competitive interactions within an industry before plugging inputs into whatever valuation model you use. Seek first to understand then value. Often Wall Street places the cart before the horse with its analysts’ projections of earnings and price targets.

After finishing our tour through Competition Demystified, I will ask readers if they want to go deeply into valuation. This chapter gives you a preview of the major issues.

Here are your study questions:

  1. What are the three major shortcomings of using the NPV approach to valuing companies?
  2. In an earnings power calculation, what are the six (6) adjustments you need to make to the current cash flow to arrive at an accurate estimate?
  3. What are the two ways to value a company’s assets?
  4. The difference between the asset value and the earnings power value is evidence of what?

For those who want a thorough review of valuation case studies from this blog, here they are. If you go through these carefully, you will have the foundation of an MBA course on valuation.

Preview

Greenwald VI Process Foundation_Final

Greenwald_2005_Inv_Process_Pres_Gabelli in London

SEALED AIR VALUATION

Sealed Air 1998 10-K

Greenwald_Class_Notes_6_-_Sealed_Air_Case_Study

Sealed Air Case Study_Handout

 Hudson General Valuation

Hudson General Case Study_Read this First

Valuing Hudson General and Analysis

Liz Claiborne

Greenwald Class Notes 5 – Liz Claiborne & Valuing Growth(2)

See you at the end of this week!

Prof. Greenwald Video at Creighton Business School

Students ask questions of Value Investors

Prof. Greenwald discusses the inanities of using DCF; the lure of lottery ticket investing and the success of Columbia’s value investing students.

http://business.creighton.edu/news/creighton-vip-draws-financial-experts Scroll down and the video link (1 hours) is at the bottom of the page.

Buffett’s 13-F

http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1067983/000119312512234582/d352241d13fhr.txt

Joel Greenblatt’s Article on his Magic Formula

Go here and read several articles on Joel’s Magic Formula Investing: www.greenbackd.com

Joel’s Adding Your Two Cents May Cost You A Lot Over The Long-Term

 

Valuing Growth

Try saying Profits without “Quotation Marks.”

Valuing Growth

A reader, Arden, asked an intelligent question about how I value growth. Since I am on the road and will not post again until Tuesday, I wanted to post Prof. Greenwald’s Lecture Notes on valuing growth.

Valuing Growth_ManagingRisk

Read through these and post your thoughts.

Have a happy Easter!

Greenwald Strategy Notes #1

 “If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.” –Mark Twain

I stayed up all night playing poker with tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died. –Steven Wright

These notes should supplement your reading of Competition Demystified and your case study on Wal-Mart (in Value Vault).

http://www.scribd.com/doc/77722383/Greenwald-Strategy-Class-1

A book on moats and investing

Moats and filters: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/4filters Neither have I read nor recommend the material on the web-site but I do want you to be aware of the book.

Greatest Company Analysis, Studying Franchises and More………….

“The average person can’t really trust anybody. They can’t trust a broker, because the broker is interested in churning commissions. They can’t trust a mutual fund, because the mutual fund is interested in gathering a lot of assets and keeping them. And now it’s even worse because even the most sophisticated people have no idea what’s going on.” –Seth Klarman

I’m passionate about wisdom. I’m passionate about accuracy and some kinds of curiosity. Perhaps I have some streak of generosity in my nature and a desire to serve values that transcend my brief life. But maybe I’m just here to show off. Who knows? –Charlie Munger

Best Company Analysis

Several experienced investors (including charlie479) have called the lecture in the link below one of the best company analysis ever done. A Charlie Munger speech about worldly wisdom in solving the problem of building a trillion-dollar business almost from scratch.  http://www.scribd.com/doc/76174254/Munger-s-Analysis-to-Build-a-Trillion-Dollar-Business-From-Scratch

Analysis of a Franchise: Linear Technology

An analysis of Linear Technology’s franchise characteristics: http://www.valueinstitute.org/viewarticle.asp?idIssue=1&idStory=109

Do you agree with the above analysis? The five companies below are considered by some to be franchises. Build a database of franchise companies to eventually purchase at the right price for you. Write down what you think are the sources of competitive advantage. Can you arrive at a ball-park value?  If not now, then set aside for future reference. Note the level of ROIC, operating margins, use of excess capital, growth and investment needed for growth and the history of returns.

Linear:                      LLTC 25 Year    LLTC_VL

Balchem:                  BCPC_35 Year   BCPC_VL

Applied Materials: Charts 35 year AMAT  AMAT_VL

Analog Devices:      ADI_35 Year  ADI_VL

Intel:                         INTC_35 Yr   INTC_VL

Now is the time to dig into the Value Vault and read, Competition Demystified by Bruce Greenwald. A study guide is offered here (Thanks Sid): http://competitiondemystified.com/index.htm

Be the Best

To be the best, you will need to have character, be independent and tough like Joker: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYxEIyNA_mk&feature=related

You will need to develop your skill in understanding and recognizing franchises. Eventually you will show skill like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwtMPdMFXQA&feature=related or take it to the hoop like Jordan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U17x7gJ33bY&feature=related

I have never held a ball in my hands, but even I know Jordan is practicing magic not basketball–but, then again, he almost didn’t make his high school team.

 A Good Data Source

Accounting, business studies, and data here: http://mgt.gatech.edu/fac_research/centers_initiatives/finlab/index.html

Freedom vs. Tyranny

A satellite view of tyranny vs. freedom: North vs. South Korea    http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2011/12/legacy-of-n-korean-dictator-kim-jong-il.html

Answer to Economic Question Posed in previous post

The European Central Bank (“ECB”) is offering euro zone banks loans of up to 3 years on Dec. 21 at a rate of 1%. A Wall Street/City of London Whiz can buy Spanish paper at plus 2% on money borrowed from the ECB at 1%. Brilliant! This is going to deluge the Euro zone with money and become extremely bullish for the Euro zone markets and price inflationary.  How else do central bankers know how to deal with a financial crisis. Print.

A viewpoint of America’s involvment in the Euro crisis: http://www.thedailybell.com/3379/Ron-Paul-Beware-the-Coming-Bailouts-of-Europe

Have a good evening.