Quick Notes from the VIC pre-Conference Workshop

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, September 7, 2014

As most of the Irregulars know, I try to get to all of the Value Investing Congress conferences, and I share my thoughts and notes on many of the stocks (and often invest in a few, eventually).

This time I was able to make it to town in time for the pre-conference Workshop, which involves much longer presentations from just a few folks. It’s more of an opportunity to learn about the way people think than it is to just get a few stock ideas, though there are usually a couple stocks that jump out at me.

Today was dominated by Whitney Tilson, the small hedge fund manager (and prolific writer) who is always extremely generous in sharing his whole portfolio and talking about his mistakes and going in depth on a few stocks as he goes through his research process and portfolio strategies. He held forth in two two-hour sessions on the day, bookending much shorter talks by Chris Mayer, Marcelo Lima, and Tim Eriksen.

Mayer had some really interesting points to make about correlation (more on that another day), and I particularly liked his assertion that the end of Quantitative Easing (QE) from the Fed may be the most-studied and most-anticipated non-event since the Y2K panic, but the stocks he talked about were some that we’ve looked at before from him — Mongolia Growth Group (YAK.V in Canada, MNGGF on the pink sheets), which I own, Dolphin Capital (DCI in London, developing Greek and Cypriot resorts, trades at deep discount to asset value) and Kennedy Wilson (KW in London) and Kennedy Wilson Europe (KWE in London). All interesting, and I need to take another look at KWE because it looks very well run (they are buying up distressed real estate in Europe), but not new and not anything I’m ready to go into detail on today. He also suggested that he was starting to look at the Italian conglomerate Bollore because of its strong record of compounding value and strong insider ownership, but he didn’t go into much detail on that one (and I know it not at all).

Marcelo Lima of Heller House had a fascinating “inside baseball” story about his extremely successful investment in a delisted preferred stock, but it was a story of little use for me and for most of you — the particular stock’s story has finished its ...

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