Author Topic: New Yorker article on Paul Singer -Elliott  (Read 5862 times)

writser

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When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful and difficult for others. The same applies when you are stupid.


Foreign Tuffett

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Re: New Yorker article on Paul Singer -Elliott
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2018, 05:27:59 PM »
Thanks for the recommendation. IMO the article, as the opening illustration would imply, is more than a little biased against activist investors. 

I think many of the problems with activist investing are really derivatives of what is perhaps THE problem with investing: forecasting future business performance is hard, and very few know whether companies should zig, zag, or do otherwise.

ajc

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Re: New Yorker article on Paul Singer -Elliott
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2018, 09:49:29 AM »

Interesting read.

Yeah, as an investor I guess I'm pretty biased towards the folks who focus on shareholder value.
I mean, if you want to run a private company your way that's fine.
On the other hand, if you're publicly owned you probably gotta remember who your real bosses are.
Clearly, Singer takes this to extremes and it's reasonable to argue in the Congo and door-knocking cases they went overboard.

All that said, I'd say Singer does more good than harm to markets. I think we're not yet at a stage where you have the greenmail-type stuff of the 80s making a comeback. For the most part, I'd say it's good the average Fortune 500 CEO has a little fear of this in their minds.
I think the idea every CEO in America is a potential Bezos if only they'd be cut some slack is kind of amusing.

Anyway, I'm biased. New Yorker long pieces are often great though. Stylistically almost always. Their recent one on JD.com was also good.


« Last Edit: August 21, 2018, 12:05:59 PM by ajc »

John Hjorth

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Re: New Yorker article on Paul Singer -Elliott
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2018, 11:46:51 AM »
Thank you for sharing, writser,

A kick in the balls from a dead man to a man still alive [from a business perspective].

Most likely Mr. Singer and his henchman do not give a dam about it. It's just considered necessary collateral damage [considered to die/go away, over time], based on how one do business, to get ahead.
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writser

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Re: New Yorker article on Paul Singer -Elliott
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2018, 12:15:25 PM »
I kind of agree with what Matt Levine posted on Twitter:

Quote
i am not sure why i am supposed to sympathize with a millionaire Bush cousin/medical-billing CEO who is hurt that people criticized him for drinking too much, sailing too much, and repeatedly punching his wife in front of their baby?

I’d say on average activism is a good check on management. However, there are some problems associated with it (short-termism, maybe too much focus on cost cutting?). Also, it looks like Elliott is “walking the line” in terms of what is acceptable behavior.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2018, 12:20:47 PM by writser »
When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful and difficult for others. The same applies when you are stupid.

Spekulatius

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Re: New Yorker article on Paul Singer -Elliott
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2018, 05:51:56 PM »
I kind of agree with what Matt Levine posted on Twitter:

Quote
i am not sure why i am supposed to sympathize with a millionaire Bush cousin/medical-billing CEO who is hurt that people criticized him for drinking too much, sailing too much, and repeatedly punching his wife in front of their baby?

I’d say on average activism is a good check on management. However, there are some problems associated with it (short-termism, maybe too much focus on cost cutting?). Also, it looks like Elliott is “walking the line” in terms of what is acceptable behavior.

The Elliot activism looks like blackmail to me. They don’t win by arguments, they win by blackmailing and discrediting people. It’s a pretty lowlife way of making a living. Also potential harmful for him and his employers, friends or family, if he ever gets into issues with the wrong people who pay back in his own currency and up it a notch.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2018, 06:26:47 PM by Spekulatius »
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Gregmal

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Re: New Yorker article on Paul Singer -Elliott
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2018, 05:56:23 PM »
Yea I don't think too highly of Elliot. Too many scumbag incidents. The Alcoa or whatever the spin off name situation reeked. The whole NXP is worth at least 135 on a standalone basis and then a day or two later agreeing to 127... They're scoundrels IMO.

tol1

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Re: New Yorker article on Paul Singer -Elliott
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2018, 10:59:32 AM »
Elliott is not high-quality investing IMO. Their style is self-fulfilling, from buying into a stock post-profit warning and demanding a sale process to buying a stake a la NXPI and asking for more. Annualized return has been around 13%, so it works for their LPs. However, I do not consider it investing. Their strategy only works in size (AuM) to cover the high fixed costs (in particular, lawyer fees).

writser

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Re: New Yorker article on Paul Singer -Elliott
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2018, 12:11:19 PM »
Define “high quality investing”. I’d say his track record is excellent.
When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful and difficult for others. The same applies when you are stupid.

tol1

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Re: New Yorker article on Paul Singer -Elliott
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2018, 12:45:46 PM »
Define “high quality investing”. I’d say his track record is excellent.


Returns are good. But the way he is getting there is as I laid out not what I perceive as quality fundamental investing. It is not fundamental investing.