I try not to let this blog stray from the subject of investing – and I don’t think politics has ever been mentioned on this blog before – but, this recent post from Bill Rempel changes that.
Long-time readers of this blog know that Bill has inspired several posts, responses, and debates on this blog with what he has written on his blog. Especially in the first few months of this blog’s life, Bill was responsible for making it a better, more interesting place for readers and the author alike.
Bill has been a friend of this blog. And now he wants your help.
I encourage everyone who has enjoyed reading my blog to follow the link to Bill’s blog and read what he has to say. For other investing bloggers who have benefited from reading Bill’s blog as I have, I encourage them to link to Bill’s call for help.
You needn’t even agree with what he’s trying to accomplish – simply encourage your readers to visit his blog and decide for themselves.
This is potentially a very interesting spin-off (however, like all spin-offs, it will ultimately come down to price) because of the nature of the assets being spun off, expected major differences in the amount of financial leverage, earnings volatility, regulatory environment etc. between the parent and the spin-off, and because of the joint venture services company.
The spin-off is planned for some time around the third quarter of 2008. Watch this one carefully. Study it; value it; then, see where it starts trading and whether you ought to buy it. This spin-off has the potential to be one of the most interesting opportunities of 2008.
This next special situation will likely garner a few more headlines than the Entergy spin-off, because of the personalities involved – yes, I’m talking about IAC/InteractiveCorp (IACI). The break-up is being discussed in major media outlets. You can learn the basics there.
Many readers of this blog would like me to make more specific, actionable stock “calls”. This isn’t really that sort of blog; but, I’ll try to appease those readers with an occasional pompous prognostication. Here is today’s:
Irish stocks look cheap. Irish banks look very cheap.
The Irish banking industry is highly concentrated; a few players account for the majority of the industry. It’s been an excellent business for a long-time; and in the long-term I expect it to continue to be an excellent business.
In the short-term, the Irish economy is going to slow-down, house prices are going to drop sharply (more sharply than in the U.S.), and construction activity is going to drop dramatically (much more dramatically than in the U.S. – where a lot of uneconomic building has continued despite the dire headlines).
Two banks (with ADRs) worthy of your consideration are Bank of Ireland (IRE) and Allied Irish Banks (AIB).
Your time will be much better spent studying these two companies than trying to sift through the rubble and find a gem among the major U.S. financial services firms who face:
1. A tougher short-term credit environment
2. A less promising long-term economic outlook
3. An inferior competitive position
Furthermore, these major U.S. financial services firms – diversified though they may be – have shown no evidence of possessing corporate cultures more inclined to conservativism than the Irish banks mentioned above. So, basically, these great big behemoths are set to sail stormier seas with inferior crews.
I know you think you know Citigroup, JP Morgan, Bank of America, and Washington Mutual – and maybe you do. But, now’s the time to get to know these two Irish banks, which I think you’ll find are better buys than the domestic giants that constantly clog the financial media with headlines.
So that’s today’s pompous prognostication: Shares of Irish banks, Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks, to outperform the biggest U.S. banks.
More importantly, shares of these two Irish banks look cheap for long-term investors, not just relative to the biggest U.S. banks, but relative to just about everything out there – in the U.S. and abroad.…
If you’re an investing blogger interested in answering these 20 questions, send me an email.
I’m also open to doing occasional email interviews with others who want to get themselves in front of an audience interested in investing generally and value investing especially. So, if you’re the author of an investing book, the creator of an investment website, etc. feel free to email me to request an interview.
My conditions for all interviews are simple: They are conducted by email. I provide the questions; you provide the answers. We both get a veto on the final product. At any time, I can choose not to run the interview – however, you have my word that if I run it, I will run it in full exactly as I last showed it to you. I may decide not to put you out there for a variety of reasons (usually the direct result of an overly promotional or uninteresting interview subject); but, if I do put you out there, I won’t make you look like a fool or put my words in your mouth.