Good Things…

This is another in my series of media curation posts.  Hopefully you are enjoying these podcasts and other finance-related content.  This week, I have another new podcast and we venture back into the world of REITs and real estate.

First, the Milken Institute videos from the last conference are (finally) up on the youtube channel.  I remember mentioning that these would usually be posted to youtube in another post a few months back (discussing reports from one of the panels).

The institute seems to have some noble goals and I have enjoyed a number of the videos over the last several years.  I would not want to totally minimize Milken’s past, but it is good he’s using some of his money for something positive.  Here are a couple of books discussing some of his background, for the younger readers among you:


Anyways, the Milken Institute puts on some very impressive programs with a lot of super high profile participants.  One of the panels was about the Real Estate Outlook of a number of big real estate investors, including David Simon and Sam Zell.  There was a similar panel last year that also had the BlackRock guy who is now becoming their CEO (and was head of their RE practice back then).  He was a little bit of a better bull advocate than most of these guys are.  Anyway this video is entertaining and somewhat informative.

So, it sounds like Zell is pretty bearish, doesn’t it? (Is he being Too Subtle?)  To be fair, he was probably equally bearish last year and probably for a few years, but he’s got a good framework that has served him well across numerous RE cycles.  I am long some EQC, which has worked out nicely, but I’m thinking about selling it.  They have a few properties they could develop and like 12 buildings, but at this point it pretty much just a big bag of cash.  I won’t have to pay taxes on my gain (otherwise I would probably sit tight).

The video also contained some (brief) interesting discussion of the GGP transaction with BAM.  Simon basically says he didn’t want to bid (but noted that he earlier tried to buy GGP out of bankruptcy) and that BAM basically got a sweetheart deal because of no competition.  He’s talking his book, but I did note in a previous post [Retail REITs: Brookfield’s Acquisition of General Growth Properties] that BAM had a very large block of stock going into the transaction, so it would have been a real battle for another buyer to successfully top their offer.

New Podcast

The second thing I wanted to highlight for you is a new podcast.  Corey Hoffstein runs a great blog over at Newfound Research.  He’s CIO of the Newfound Funds and a good follow on twitter @choffstein.  He recently dropped a whole season of a new podcast Flirting with Models.  He is really quite a good interviewer in my opinion.  I am probably going to add this podcast to my list of regulars.

Corey is a quantitative (or systematic) investor.  That may not appeal to many of the ad-hoc stock pickers among us.  Personally, I try and follow a lot of the quants.  I don’t see how you could not do so after reading some of the behavioral finance research.  If you are not familiar with how many behavioral and cognitive hurdles we investors face, check these out:


I am not exactly able to hang with some of the more complex mathematics and technical statistical discussions that quants get into.  I also am an attorney and believe strongly in the (difficult to quantify) power of incentives and the impact of agency costs.  I have been toying around with trying a “quantamental” strategy where I would combine statistical cheapness with some other characteristics to try and minimize these agency costs.

The Thread

Perhaps it is unsurprising, therefore, that my favorite episode of Flirting with Models so far (I haven’t made it to Meb Faber’s episode yet…I am biased toward him, being from the Carolinas myself) is the one with (recovering lawyer) Tobias Carlisle.  In this episode, Toby talks a little more about special situations and the less purely quantitative strategies he has worked on over time.

Toby is a great follow on twitter @Greenbackd.  He also runs The Acquirer’s Multiple and Greenbackd websites.  You know what?  Let’s continue to pull the thread a little and add some more pieces to check out by Toby.

Toby has written a lot of books we should check out.  First are The Acquirer’s Multiple and Deep Value.  I haven’t yet read Deep Value, but I have heard good things and in addition to discussing how to find cheap stocks it deals with closing the valuation gap via activism and how some of the big guys do it. Here they are:


Toby also co-authored the following books:


Concentrated Investing is in my nightstand pile (which seems to endure forever since my the arrival of our 9 month old son), but I am looking forward to it.  Quantitative Value has been discussed on this site previously (you will have to click around) and has been very influential on me.

Finally, I will share a talk that Toby gave at Google.  He was one of the first speakers in the Investors at Google series.  If memory serves, he talked about his book Deep Value:

So, there you go.  Tons of stuff for your listening, reading, watching, and learning pleasure.  Enjoy!