Adquisición 获得: Google descent into robotics

Google is investing in robotics companies by purchasing Boston dynamics.

In December, Google bought Boston Dynamics, which developed a number of robots said to be inspired by animals, for an undisclosed sum. The news broke shortly after Amazon made headlines over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with its own robotic moonshot project, Prime Air drone delivery.

But Google is not the only one thought to have been interested in Titan. Reports swirled as recently as a few weeks ago that Facebook was interested in the private company, founded in 2012, as well.

Los nuevos reyes del Antiguo: David Tepper

2013 Earnings: $3.5 billion
Tepper has set a new standard for hedge fund managers. His track record has long been phenomenal, but since the financial crisis his returns have reached a whole new level. In 2013, the 56-year-old founder of Appaloosa Management outperformed the U.S. stock market and the vast majority of hedge fund managers, with his biggest fund posting net returns of more than 42%. Over the last five years, Tepper’s main hedge fund has generated annualized net returns of nearly 40%—and gross returns of some 50%. In what has almost become an annual tradition, Tepper gave back some cash to his investors at the end of the year. In 2013, Tepper’s Appaloosa celebrated its 20th anniversary by pledging $20 million to various charities. Tepper also gave $67 million to Carnegie Mellon University last year—adding to the $55 million he previously gave the university—and continued to support other causes like basic needs and education.

Appaloosa Management is an American hedge fund founded in 1993 by David Tepper and Jack Walton specializing in distressed debt.Appaloosa Management invests in public equity and fixed income markets around the world.

In 1993 David Tepper and Jack Walton founded Appaloosa Management, an employee owned hedge fund, in Chatham, New Jersey.[4][5] The firm through the 1990s was known as a junk bond investment boutique and through the 2000s a hedge fund.

2002 Conseco & Marconi Corp.

In the fourth quarter of 2002 Appaloosa Management returns were heavily a result of junk-bond and distressed debt bets in Conseco and Marconi Corp. that the market was bottoming out.

2007 Delphi

Assets under management in 2007 were $5.3 billion. The Financial Times reports the company has “attracted interest for its large ownership position in Delphi, the bankrupt car parts supplier, and its clashes on whether management has the shareholders best interests in mind or those of GM and the UAW.”

2008 financial crisis through 2011

Appaloosa survived the financial crisis of 2008 with relatively few investor redemption orders.

From 2009 to 2010 Appaloosa Management’s assets under management grew from $5 billion to $12 billion.

In November 2010 the New York Times reported total assets under management of $14 billion.

In 2010 it was reported that since 1993 Appaloosa Management had returned $12.4 billion to clients—ranking it sixth on a ranking of total returns to clients by managers since inception.

In 2011 the company was awarded the Institutional Hedge Fund Firm of the Year award.

In Sep 2011, a Delaware bankruptcy court found that Appaloosa Management is one of four hedge funds that had played a role in Washington Mutual’s restructuring which might have received confidential information that could have been used to trade improperly in the bank’s debt.

Investment Strategy

Appaloosa Management’s investments focus on undiversified concentrated investment positions.Appaloosa invests in the global public equity and fixed income markets with a focus on “equities and debt of distressed companies, bonds, exchange warrants, optionsfutures, notes, and junk bonds.” According to BusinessWeek, the firm’s client base consists of high net worth individuals, pension and profit sharing plans, corporations, foreign governments, foundations, universities, and other organizations.” Investors commit to a locked period of three years during which their withdrawals are limited to 25 percent of their total investment.

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Palomino Fund

The Palomino Fund from its inception in 1995 to 1998 had a 25 percent return. After Russia defaulted, the fund lost 49 percent of its value between February to September 1998. The fund returned –26.7% percent in 2008 and 117.3 percent in 2009. The company was ranked by Bloomberg Markets as the top performing fund of any hedge fund manager managing over one billion dollars

source:businessweek

Banqueros Automáticos:The computers that run the stock market

Citadel Securities has quietly become one of the largest forces in U.S. stock trading.

quants-illo_2622703b

From the 35th floor of a downtown Chicago office tower, Citadel executes one out of every eight stock trades in the United States. At roughly 900 million shares a day, more stocks move through Citadel’s systems than the New York Stock Exchange, which trades roughly 700 million shares a day.

If you own a 401(k) or have ever used an online broker, your trades have almost certainly passed through Citadel.

The most notable thing about the firm’s trading floor is how eerily quiet it can be.

About 40 people “run” the trading floor, but they are simply overseeing computers that use algorithms to fill and route stock orders.

Related: High speed traders pay for an edge

130705144548-citadel-thumb-video-620x348

Welcome to the new world of trading: More and more, high speed computer programs are replacing thousands of floor brokers once seen running and yelling across the floor of the NYSE.

Citadel’s “floor” brokers don’t do a lot of running. They sit together behind rows of computer terminals, clicking away on keyboards to ensure the firm’s computers are operating correctly and are connected to all the right exchanges.

In essence, Citadel’s proprietary computer programs have become the new eyes, ears, and brains of the U.S. stock market.

About 20 programmers create the computer algorithms that decide how to execute each order, and what to send to public exchanges or so-called dark pools.

Dark pools may sound like the favorite haunts of Star Wars villains, but they are simply venues where buyers and sellers can submit bids without disclosing them to the public markets. Citadel operates a dark pool called Apogee out of its New York office.

Citadel’s programmers are constantly making adjustments as computers “learn” customer behavior to make the process more efficient.

“All the decisions are made by the computers,” Jamil Nazarali, Citadel’s head of electronic execution, told CNNMoney during an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour. “The people here are not making any decisions with respect to whether an order should be filled or at what price it should be filled. That’s all done in an automated way.”

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Split second decisions: Citadel’s computers execute a buy or sell order nearly instantaneously.

When Citadel’s computers do not to fill an order internally, the trade is pushed along to one of 13 public exchanges or one of more than 20 dark pools.

By law, Citadel must match or give a better price than what’s been quoted on a public exchange, said Nazarali.

But some industry watchers question whether Citadel’s prescient computer programs are always giving customers the best price.

Nazarali says they do: “As a market maker, I have a regulatory obligation to fill all customers orders on my book before I trade.”

He said Citadel’s systems actually create an even playing field between high-speed traders and retail traders who place orders through brokers like TD Ameritrade (AMTD)because they all have access to the same technology.

The industry’s primary regulator, FINRA, recently asked some market makers and dark pool operators to provide information on how they fill trading orders. Regulators are worried about high-speed traders get an edge over other investors in certain trading venues. It’s unclear if Citadel was part of that group, and FINRA declined to comment.

Trading is definitely faster, but whether it’s better and cheaper for the average retail investor remains to be seen.

Principal regulador de la industria, FINRA, recientemente pidió a algunos creadores de mercado y operadores de piscinas oscuras para proporcionar información sobre cómo se llenan las órdenes de operaciones. Los reguladores están preocupados por los operadores de alta velocidad consiguen una ventaja sobre otros inversores en determinados centros de negociación. No está claro si la ciudadela era parte de ese grupo, y FINRA declinó hacer comentarios.

El comercio es definitivamente más rápido, pero si es mejor y más barato para el inversor minorista medio aún está por verse.

黄金の太陽: The power of the solar technology etf TAN

EvergladesSunriseJune

Guggenheim Solar (TAN)

46.70 Down 0.56(1.18%) 4:00PM EST|After Hours : 46.10 Down 0.60 (1.28%) 7:11PM EST

Prev Close: 47.26
Open: 47.51
Bid: 46.00 x 200
Ask: 47.35 x 100
NAV¹: 46.95
Net Assets²: 383.58M
YTD Return(Mkt)²: 11.80%
Day’s Range: 45.88 – 47.78
52wk Range: 15.00 – 47.78
Volume: 1,036,528
Avg Vol (3m): 561,480
P/E (ttm)²: 17
Yield (ttm)²: 1.14

¹As of Feb 27, 2014

²As of Jan 31, 2014

The Guggenheim/MAC Global Solar Energy Index ETF seeks investment results that correspond generally to the performance, before the Fund’s fees and expenses, of an equity index called the MAC Global Solar Energy Index. The Fund will normally invest at least 90% of its total assets in common stock, American depositary receipts and global depositary receipts that comprise the Index. Guggenheim Advisors, LLC seeks a correlation over time of 0.95 or better between the Fund’s performance and the performance of the Index.

The Index is designed to track companies within the following business segments of the solar energy industry: companies that produce solar power equipment and products for end-users, companies that produce fabrication products (such as the equipment used by solar cell and module producers to manufacture solar power equipment) or services (such as companies specializing in the solar cell manufacturing or the provision of consulting services to solar cell and module producers) for solar power equipment producers, companies that supply raw materials or components to solar power equipment producers or integrators; companies that derive a significant portion of their business (measured in the manner set forth below under “Index Methodology” section) from solar power system sales, distribution, installation, integration or financing; and companies that specialize in selling electricity derived from solar power.

Source:

Yahoo

Seeking Alpha

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El puente de espacio y más allá: Google’s Mission to the moon

The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity, thereby inspiring the formation of new industries and the revitalization of markets that are currently stuck due to existing failures or a commonly held belief that a solution is not possible. The foundation addresses the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself. It motivates and inspires brilliant innovators from all disciplines to leverage their intellectual and financial capital.

The Google Lunar X Prize offers a total of US$30 million in prizes to the first privately funded teams to land a robot on the Moon that successfully travels more than 500 meters (1,640 ft) and transmits back high definition images and video. The first team to do so will claim the US$20 million Grand Prize; while the second team to accomplish the same tasks will earn a US$5 million Second Place Prize. Teams can also earn additional money by completing additional tasks beyond the baseline requirements required to win the Grand or Second Place Prize, such as traveling ten times the baseline requirements (greater than 5,000 meters (3 mi)), capturing images of the remains of Apollo program hardware or other man-made objects on the Moon, verifying from the lunar surface the recent detection of water ice on the Moon, or surviving a lunar night. Additionally, a US$1 million Diversity Award may be given to teams that make significant strides in promoting ethnic diversity in STEM fields. Finally, Space Florida, one of the “Preferred Partners” for the competition has offered an additional US$2 million bonus to teams who launch their mission from the state of Florida.

Terminamos 2013 con otro gran cuarto de impulso y crecimiento. Ingresos independiente de Google subió un 22% año tras año, a 15,7 mil millones dólares “, dijo Larry Page, CEO de Google.” Hemos hecho un gran progreso en una amplia gama de mejoras en el producto y los objetivos de negocio. También estoy muy entusiasmado con la mejora de vida de las personas aún más con el trabajo continuo duro en nuestras experiencias de usuario.

Dow Jones 16,303.34 0.19%
Nasdaq 4,300.86 -0.42%
Technology -0.41%
GOOG 1,212.69 -0.53%
1,212.69

-6.52 (-0.53%)
Real-time:   3:37PM EST

NASDAQ real-time data – Disclaimer

Currency in USD
Range 1,206.22 – 1,224.19
52 week 761.26 – 1,228.88
Open 1,220.34
Vol / Avg. 1.59M/2.46M
Mkt cap 407.72B
P/E 34.22
Div/yield     –
EPS 35.45
Shares 336.05M
Beta 0.98
Inst. own 72%

Source:

Google

投资于机器人: The future is here investing in robotics

One of the most popular businesses – Bedford’s iRobot – created the floor-cleaning disc Roomba. Another company, Boston Dynamics, built a product called LittleDog that scientists are using to “probe fundamental relationships among motor learning, dynamic control, perception of the environment and rough terrain locomotion,” according to its YouTube page. – See more at: http://www.kahnlitwin.com/blogs/daily-news-blog/robotics-companies-prime-investing-opportunities-for-venture-capital-firms-#sthash.oSd8Mjbt.dpufgineering company that specializes in building dynamic robots and software for human simulation.

These and other companies may be in need of technology consulting services. For example, Liquid Robotics of California recently completed a $22 million round of financing that included minor investments from an oilfield services company and Stanford University, the Wall Street Journal reports. The company is currently valued at $70 million.
– See more at: http://www.kahnlitwin.com/blogs/daily-news-blog/robotics-companies-prime-investing-opportunities-for-venture-capital-firms-#sthash.oSd8Mjbt.dpuf

Google is joining the growing list of companies investing in military technology. On Friday, the Internet giant bought Boston Dynamics, a company known for developing animal-like robots that can outrun even the world’s fastest man.

谷歌加盟公司投资于军事技术的越来越多。上周五,互联网巨头买下波士顿动力公司,该公司称开发动物般的机器人,可以逃脱即使是世界上跑得最快的人。

Source;

Seeking Alpha

 

IRBT-A provider of mobile robots for the consumer market, including the iRobot-LE home robot,
Prev Close: 44.48
Open: 44.30
Bid: 41.06 x 500
Ask: 41.10 x 200
1y Target Est: 41.00
Beta: 1.82
Next Earnings Date: 22-Apr-14IRBT Earnings announcement
Day’s Range: 40.41 – 44.89
52wk Range: 21.13 – 46.99
Volume: 1,106,384
Avg Vol (3m): 993,657
Market Cap: 1.18B
P/E (ttm): 43.72
EPS (ttm): 0.94
Div & Yield: N/A (N/A

Boston Dynamics is an enVenture capital firms in Boston may want to pay attention to the increased number of robotics firms in the state, according to the Boston Business Journal. There are at least 60 known robotics companies in Massachusetts, as reported by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council.

The company began as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where National Academy of Engineering member Marc Raibert and his colleagues first developed robots that ran and maneuvered like animals. They founded the company in 1992, and their ground-breaking work continues to inspire several of the company’s activities.

Today the company creates a variety of innovative robots, including BigDog, a quadruped robot for travel on rough-terrain, PETMAN, an anthropomorphic robot for testing equipment, RISE, a robot that climbs vertical surfaces, SquishBot, a shape-changing chemical robot that moves through tight space, and many others.

Co Founder

Invest in the future: The bridge to tomorrow

robot-wallpaper-2

With 2013 coming to an end, can robotic companies keep up their impressive gains? Shares of top robotic companies in 2013 have had inhumane like gains. I’m convinced these gains will continue right on through 2014. As we become an even more technologically advanced and diverse global economy, the dependence certain companies have on robotic devices to speed up their manufacturing and processing only increases. In 2013, this dependence seemed to increase quite dramatically. Behemoths Google (GOOG) and Amazon (AMZN) have both spent billions acquiring numerous robotic companies in the last couple years. Amazon bought robotic manufacturer Kiva Systems in 2012 for approximately $775 million. Most recently, On December 16th, Googlemade a purchase of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon. This acquisition awoke investors and helped them realize the potential that any robotic company has of being bought out by the likes of Google or Amazon.

 

So what’s in store for 2014? Colin Angle, the CEO at iRobot (IRBT), was not afraid to share his robust thoughts on his own robotic company. He went on record saying “I think it’s going to be a great growth year for us,” he added that iRobot, “is expecting mid to high teen revenue growth in 2014.” These comments rallied investors and subsequently shares of iRobot. Shares of iRobot exploded 15% in the same trading day as the announcement. From the beginning of 2013, iRobot’s stock has risen over $15 per share and according to the CEO, the gains and rewards for shareholders are only going to continue.

Deep value, growth

 

From Earth to the Sun:Delaware Financials

helixPro_jam2

DELAWARE

Dupont’s Stocks

Market open-$63.22
Change:+0.26 +0.41%
Volume:2.01m
Real time quotes
Previous close: $ 62.96
Day low: $62.65
Day high:$63.31

Open: 63.06
52 week low:$46.02
52 week high:$65.00

Market cap:$58.41B
Average volume:4.19M
P/E ratio:20.35
Rev. per Employee:$516,343
EPS:3.11
Dividend:0.45
Div yield:2.85%

Ex dividend date
2/12/14:$63.27
+0.31 +0.49%

Volume 2.01m
10a
11a
12p
1p
2p
3p

Previous close
$ 62.96
Day low
Day high
$62.65
$63.31

52 week low
52 week high
$46.02
$65.00

Company Description
E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. science-based products and services company. The company finds sustainable, innovative, market-driven solutions to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges, making lives better, safer, and healthier for people everywhere. It operates through eight segments: Agricult…
Valuation
P/E Current
21.24
P/E Ratio (with extraordinary items)
12.27
P/E Ratio (without extraordinary items)
12.54
Price to Sales Ratio
1.66
Price to Book Ratio
3.77
Price to Cash Flow Ratio
19.07
Enterprise Value to EBITDA
10.80
Enterprise Value to Sales
1.87
Total Debt to Enterprise Value
0.19
Efficiency
Receivables Turnover
6.29
Total Asset Turnover
0.71
Liquidity
Current Ratio
1.82
Quick Ratio
1.22
Cash Ratio
0.33
Profitability
Gross Margin
27.00
Operating Margin
11.21
Pretax Margin
9.65
Net Margin
7.88
Return on Assets
5.63
Return on Equity
21.65
Return on Total Capital
11.28
Return on Invested Capital
11.99
Capital Structure
Total Debt to Total Equity
77.93
Total Debt to Total Capital
43.44
Total Debt to Total Assets
24.20
Long-Term Debt to Equity
67.16
Long-Term Debt to Total Capital
37.44
Officers and Executives

Principal Manufacturing Industries

(Percentage of Employment)

33.8% Food

11.2% Computer 8t Electronic Products

10.2% Chemicals

6.3% Fabricated Metal Products

6.2% Plastics 8i Rubber Products

3.2% Paper

29.1% Other Manufacturing Industries

BASIC BUSINESS TAXES

TRADITIONAL INDUSTRIES: Manufacturing, agriculture, finance, chemistry

EXPANDING INDUSTRIES: Transportation and utilities, education and healthcare, leisure and hospitality

 

CORPORATE FINANCE TAX: Minimum of $75 and maximum of $180,000 per year GENERAL PROPERTY TAXES: Based on assessed value of real property for county, municipal, and school district purposes; personal property exempt; the Delaware Economic Development Office can provide property tax information for all geographic areas within the state.

Music at the bottom of a well

Jupiter hurricane

SFP Value Realization Master Fund: Symphony Financial Partners

Author: Margie Lindsay

Source: Hedge Funds Review | 08 May 2012

Categories: Hedge Funds

Tokyo-based hedge fund run by SFP exploits market inefficiencies by investing in undervalued Japanese companies and implementing changes leading to share price appreciation over a two to four-year period.

Investors may think they have heard every reason why they should be invested in Japan. If they have not talked with Symphony Financial Partners (SFP), they may be missing a unique opportunity.

Along with his partners, David Baran (pictured), co-chief executive and co-founder of SFP, has reinvented the concept of an event driven strategy to fit the peculiar Japanese situation.

“We are the event creation fund,” explains Baran. The SFP Value Realization Master Fund exploits market inefficiencies by investing in undervalued listed Japanese companies and “constructively engaging management” to implement changes leading to share price appreciation. The goal is to realise gains over a two to four-year period.

With more than 20 years of experience investing in Japanese equities, Baran, together with co-CEO Kazuhiko Shibataand managing director Jason Schwartz, first began looking at the Japanese market in the late 1990s/early 2000. “At that time there was a lot of private equity money being raised for Japan. Our close contact with those investors led us to realise that while the money was there to buy, the offers were not there to sell,” says Baran. “We realised there was a space in the marketplace that was not being appropriately exploited.”

This is where SFP stepped in. Private equity investors usually require control while equity investors tend to be passive. “We found in the Japanese equity market an abundance of very cheaply priced equities where nobody seemed to be in control. The companies were operating somewhat on autopilot. Doing very well, but there was no engagement with shareholders.”

Changes in Japanese corporate law and culture were creating a pool of what Baran calls “orphans”: companies where there was nothing really wrong but no-one seemed to care about them.

“We decided these were the companies we were going to care about. We were going to make a substantial investment in these companies through the listed equity. We would become the number one, two, three shareholder in the company.”

This meant owning large stakes in companies, ranging from around 10% to 49% in one case. Using this significant holding, SFP then works with management to “cause the shares to be properly priced”. The intention, notes Baran, is not to disrupt or reorganise management but rather to help management realise value for the company and for shareholders.

Fund facts

Full name of fund  SFP Value Realization Master Fund
Portfolio manager(s)  David Baran, Kazuhiko Shibata, Jason Schwartz
Investment/management company  Symphony Financial Partners
Contact information  the new Otani Garden Court 9F, 4-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0094, Japan (+81 3 45000 9250; fax +81 3 3222 1312
Launch date  September 2003
Assets under management  $200 million (at May 1, 2012)
Net cumulative performance since inception  52.66% (at 29 February 29, 2012)
Annualised return  5.21%
Annualised standard deviation 18.13%
Administrator Apex
Custodian Citi
Prime brokers Citi, Goldman Sachs
Legal counsel Schulte, Roth and Zabel; Maples and Calder; Oebashi
Strategy  event driven, activist
Share classes  A, B, C
Management fee  2% (A and B); 1.5% (C)
Incentive fee 20% with high water mark (A); 20% with high water mark (B); for shares acquired during 2011, 10% until end of 2012 and 15% thereafter with high water mark (C); for shares acquired after 2011, 15% with high water mark (C)
Domicile Cayman Islands
Lock-up  None but possible penalty for redemption within one year (class A); two years (B); redeemable up to 5% on first and second anniversaries of acquisition and up to 50% on third anniversary of acquisition (C)
Redemption/liquidity terms  quarterly with 90 days’ notice (A and B); quarterly with 90 days’ notice

“The equity markets [in Japan] are not the same as other equity markets where being listed confers on the equity owner, the shareholder, certain rights that they will exercise. That’s not really the mechanism for Japanese equities. There is no market for corporate control, no clearing price at which an entire enterprise can be priced,” he explains.

“Instead of taking the ‘my wallet’s bigger than your wallet route’, we want to work with management.”

Big in Japan
All the ingredients for the strategy were present in Japan. First, there was a large target universe because of prolonged market weakness. The status quo clearly was not working. Companies needed to address strategic issues, financial performance, shareholder discontent and governance, something management was not necessarily equipped to do.

“They’re good guys, just never had this type of external bombardment of demands from shareholders causing them to rethink the way they do their day-to-day business,” says Baran. “Generally there’s nothing wrong with the way they do day-to-day business. The problem is with the share price.”

In addition corporate management stagnation had created mispricing as well as opportunity. Drastic improvements in corporate governance norms meant management was accountable to shareholders while domestic investors were agitating for change. SFP saw an opening to step in and avoid value traps by working with management to enhance share price performance,

Baran says SFP spotted the opportunity and moved in. “You don’t need control. You need influence. You need to be able to sit down with management and come up with up viable ideas which they can implement and will lead the share price to higher and higher ground,” he explains.

“Those strategies may be share buybacks, maybe having an investor relations department, may be increasing dividends. But most effective we have found is some sort of corporate action, whether it’s a merger or an acquisition of something else or a management buyout. Something a bit more binary as opposed to something that is a bit more creative. Raising dividends is nice, but it’s a governance thing. Share prices may react to it in the short term but it’s usually not enough,” Baran adds.

Baran is proud of the fact SFP executed the first hedge fund-led management buyout in Japan, creating alpha for his investors by exiting to a strategic buyer at a substantial premium.

In fact the premiums almost appear too good to be true. The catch is that it does not take six to 12 months but more likely two to four years to cause enough of a sea change in management activities to realise the investment.

In the first quarter of 2012, there were 19 tender offers in Japan with an average bid premium of 51%. “That’s a lot of deals and a big premium,” comments Baran. “It’s indicative of exactly what we’re saying: there is so much optionality in Japanese equities that you ignore them at your own peril, performance-wise.”

He admits SFP is probably alone in completing multiple MBOs in Japan as well as M&A executed and implemented. “Because we take such large stakes in our target companies, we’re much more able to influence the pricing of any of these corporate actions. So whereas the average premium bid for the first quarter this year was 51%, the last deal we did in December 2011 was 135%.”

SFP can command such returns because it is setting the price. “We own enough of the company, if you want to do the deal, this is the price it’s going to happen at. Of course there was some horse-trading going on, too. We actually see the biggest risk for investors in Japanese equities in allowing Japanese management or other strategic buyers to buy Japanese companies too cheaply,” says Baran.

Fair pricing
According to Baran the average equity shareholder is “so thrilled to be getting a premium for what they paid for it that they’ll sell at any reasonable price”. The problem is the reasonable price is not actually a fair market price.

“You’ve got companies trading one times Ebitda and management is buying them at two or three times Ebitda when a real buyer would pay five or six. You look at it and say ‘wait a minute. Just because you’re getting premium of 50% doesn’t mean it’s a fair price, just a higher price’.”

With all this potential value in the offering, SFP seems at present to be the only organisation seizing the chance to make money. Modestly Baran says he puts it down to stubbornness and a lack of ability by anyone else to do it.

However, he admits the real problem is that it is a difficult trick to pull off. “If you’re a hedge fund manager you almost by definition don’t have the skillset to engage with management to do this. We came at this from a completely different perspective. We came at it from a private equity arbitrage perspective,” explains Baran,

Seeing an arbitrage opportunity, the next question was how to get at it. If the company is trading at a discount to net cash on its balance sheet, the problem for SFP was how to close that value gap. “Can you take over the company, do a levered recap and distribute all the cash? Probably not in Japan. That’s why the opportunity exists.”

SFP usually has 10-15 core portfolio holdings limiting positions to 10% of assets under management at the time of investment. Industry concentration limits are set at 15% of AUM. The strategy uses no leverage and usually has cash holdings of 5% to 10%.

Finding the companies, admits Baran, is about “shoe leather”. “You can do all the work you want in your office, pulling together annual reports and 10Ks and other types of information about the company’s business prospects, but you’ve got to go and visit with management, see the factories, see the competitors, see the clients and put together a mosaic.”

Finding underpriced companies is not difficult, he says. “Figuring out what is going to make them fairly priced is a lot more complicated. Implementing what you figured out is a Herculean task.”

With only around $200 million AUM, the fund has no capacity problem. While SFP has not been actively marketing the fund, Baran thinks attitudes towards investing in Japan may be changing. He is confident the fund will attract more investors this year, mainly from outside Japan although domestic investors are also becoming interested in what they term ‘concentrated portfolios’.

Baran maintains the fund offers a compelling investment opportunity. With his own background at Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital, coupled with Shibata’s experience also gained at Lehman and Goldman Sachs, Baran is confident their expertise in the Japanese market and the fund’s performance will attract more investors in future.

http://www.symphony-fp.com/