Monday, May 12, 2008

A note on the slower blog updates

I am sure most of you have noticed a slowdown in the posting frequency on this blog. I don't have the normal excuse - too much work. Rather it is the opposite - I am having too much fun.

With the intent to travel for a year or two, I set out in late October 2007. For the last few months I have been traveling in India and Sri Lanka.

This week I head out to S.E Asia, and will be there for a few months. I intend to cover Bali, a bit of Malaysia, Vietnam, a lot of Thailand and will also likely venture into Cambodia, Laos and Timor. If I am still left with any energy, I head to Hong Kong and Singapore. And finally, if I am still alive (mentally) by then, I hope to get to China & Macau.

I do intend to keep blogging, but only major takeovers will feature here. I am making notes on all the smaller takeovers, and I may do a longer post covering them later.

Meanwhile, if you are headed to the same part of the world I am going to, let me know. We can meet, and the beer is on me!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hit #189 (Safeco)

Insurer Safeco (SAF) is being acquired by Liberty Mutual for around $6 billion in an all cash deal. The $68.25/share offer represents a gain of 84.3% over my cost of $37.04.

I first came across Safeco via my auto-insurance agent, and ended up as a customer for a while. It looked like a safe investment for the really long term, and hence I had bought into it in a small way.

Another investment, that in 21st Century, also happened in a similar way. I was a very happy auto-insurance client for a few years, and the insider buying had made me buy the stock in decent numbers. 21st Century was bought by AIG recently (see Hit #166) helping me recover some part of my premium payments over the last few years.

The insurance sector still looks very attractive, with large insider buying showing up recently. AIG itself, having been hammered lately by the fallout of credit crisis, is a good long-term investment for buy-and-holders. Other insurers like Progressive (PGR), Meadowbrook (MIG), Amerisafe (AMSF), Zenith (ZNT), AmComp (AMCP), Allstate (ALL), Seabright (SEAB), Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) etc are also good, though more speculative, buys. More consolidation is set to follow in this sector.

Previous hit - Audible (#188)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hit #188 (Audible)

Late in January, Amazon agreed to buy Audible (ADBL) for $300 million. The cash offer, of $11.5/share, makes for a gain of 9.6% over my average cost of $10.49.

The offer price is low given Audible's leadership position, and its loyal customers (I know a few of them). Why didn't they fight for a better offer ?

I had invested part of the proceeds from Engelhard's sale (see post) into Audible. In the same post I had mentioned Apple or Yahoo as likely buyers. Amazon came as a surprise.

Another post I did earlier, on investing prospects related to increased bandwidth demand, also mentioned Audible as a candidate.

Previous hit - Millenium (#187)

Hit #187 (Millenium Pharma)

Japan's Takeda is buying Millenium Pharmaceuticals (MLNM) for $8.8 billion in a cash deal. The $25/share offer makes for a gain of 43.8% over my average cost of $17.38.

Takeda had indicated earlier (see post) that it was looking to buy. Also, when Pharmion was acquired (see Hit #183), I had mentioned Millenium though I saw it more as a buyer than a target then.

While on this sector, I would recommend Amgen (AMGN) as a long-term value buy. The stock bumped higher today following the Millenium news, but still remains attractive to buy-and-holders. OSI Pharma (OSIP) and Biogen (BIIB) are also worth watching.

Previous hit - ASV (#186)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hit #186 (ASV)

Construction vehicle maker A.S.V (ASVI) is being acquired by Terex in a $488 million cash transaction. The $18/share offer translates into a gain of 28.9% over my average cost of $13.96.

I had mentioned ASV in an earlier post pointing out that it made the most promising bet in the sector.

Construction activity, residential as well as commercial, has slowed down dramatically. This has caused severe pullbacks in most stocks related to the sector. For long-term investors this has created good entry points. I would recommend buying and holding Terex (TEX), CNH Global (CNH), Caterpillar (CAT) and Kubota (KUB).

Previous hit - CheckFree (#185)