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)