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Goldman Sachs “Now trading at a mere 0.87x book value, the stock is downright cheap”


Whitney Tilson’s e-mail to buyers discussing the case to purchase Goldman Sachs, Fb, Berkshire, Brexit, McKinsey, and China.


1) My favourite sort of funding is shopping for nice corporations once they’re out of favor, affected by momentary or solvable issues. One instance right now is Goldman Sachs, which is rightly getting blasted for its complete greed and failure of danger management in the 1MDB scandal (right here’s the newest story from the entrance web page of right now’s WSJ: Goldman Sachs Ignored 1MDB Warning Indicators). However, as Invoice Miller as soon as stated, “If it’s in the headlines, it’s in the stock price.” Now trading at a mere zero.87x book worth, the stock is downright low cost. Right here’s Doug Kass’s take:

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Dec 18, 2018 | 08:53 AM EST DOUG KASS

The Case to Purchase Goldman Sachs

“Certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to Goldman Sachs, outside counsel and others about the use of proceeds from these transactions… 1MDB, whose CEO and Board reported directly to the prime minister at the time, also provided written assurances to Goldman Sachs for each transaction that no intermediaries were involved…” — Michael DuVally, Goldman Sachs spokesman, on Monday

  • Goldman Sachs stays “Best of Breed”
  • Trading underneath $170 a share and down from $230 a share a month in the past (and a one-year excessive of $275), Goldman Sachs shares have doubtless over-discounted the Malaysian drawback 
  • We now face the uncommon alternative of turning into a GS “partner” at a low cost to book worth
  • One among my 2019 Surprises is that GS administration acts opportunistically and takes the firm personal at a premium
  • I’ve positioned GS on my Greatest Concepts Record as a lengthy

I’ve been a longtime bear on Goldman Sachs (GS) ; right here was my thesis.

A number of weeks in the past, with GS trading greater than $40 a share larger, I expressed considerations about Goldman’s authorized publicity to the capital increase of sovereign wealth fund 1MDB and that the media had been sluggish to spotlight the potential legal responsibility to the brokerage, which is a holding of Jim “El Capitan” Cramer’s Motion Alerts PLUS charitable belief.

Nevertheless, on Monday I moved GS off my Greatest Concepts Record as a brief to the Greatest Concepts Record as a lengthy as the market has absolutely — after which some — discounted the brokerage’s Malaysian liabilities. Right here was my publish from Monday.

Via background, again in 2009, the authorities of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrange 1MDB. About $6.5 billion was raised via Goldman Sachs in three bond choices. Subsequently, the U.S. Justice Division has estimated that a substantial portion of the capital raised was misappropriated by high-level fund officers and their associates.

GS shares are down by almost 35% this yr and have fallen from greater than $250 to lower than $170. As lately as mid-November GS shares traded at $235 a share!

Right here is my funding rationale:

  • For certainly one of the few occasions since Goldman went public, buyers can turn out to be a “partner” of Goldman Sachs at a low cost to tangible book worth. By my calculation, at the time its fourth-quarter outcomes are reported, Goldman’s book worth will stand at about $187 a share in comparison with the present share worth of $168 a share.
  • Assuming a base case of $1.75 billion to $ billion in reimbursement and fines for the Malaysian legal responsibility, the market has over-discounted its influence given Goldman’s sizable capital base and powerful earnings era. The occasion probably doesn’t pose an existential danger to the brokerage.
  • On Monday Goldman Sachs fired again towards the Malaysian authorities. I anticipate the litigation to be resolved ahead of later as each events are incentivized, and there ought to be restricted long-term influence on Goldman. Keep in mind that the Malaysia authorities has a documented historical past of being notoriously corrupt.
  • Whereas Goldman’s leverage has been administered decrease by regulators, which has produced decrease returns, the brokerage is nonetheless Better of Breed. Goldman’s worker base is a gifted and revolutionary pool. Historical past has proven the brokerage’s robust capability to strike a stability between danger and reward. The present administration evaluate of the firm’s operations (subsequent yr is Goldman’s 150th birthday) will possible end in a considerate going-forward technique that ought to enhance present returns on invested capital.
  • Goldman Sachs is a prime beneficiary of the enterprise retrenchment of beforehand giant, worthwhile, wholesome and well-regarded however now-crippled European monetary establishments (e.g., Credit score Suisse (CS) and Deutsche Financial institution (DB) ).
  • A fairly excessive and sustainable revenue progress image lies forward, absent the earnings volatility (from prop operations) of the previous. Slower but extra secure and regular revenue streams must be extra worthwhile as the home financial system matures.
  • Goldman Sachs has crushed consensus EPS expectations over the final 4 quarters by 15.four%, 24.6%, 28.three% and 16.7%, respectively
  • With a market capitalization of $62.5 billion, GS trades at just one.7x gross sales, zero.85 of book worth and seven.5x projected EPS of $25 a share. Goldman’s return on fairness (ROE) is about 13.2%. A rule of thumb I typically use in financials is that a 10% ROE justifies 1.0x book a number of, so a 13% ROE justifies a 1.3x book a number of, projecting to a worth of $247 a share.
  • With the share worth so low, there is optionality that Goldman might go personal. (See my 15 Surprises for 2019.)

Backside Line

“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” – Warren Buffett

As described above, GS share are statistically cheap at present. Trading at zero.85 tangible book worth, the shares present the uncommon alternative for buyers to grow to be a “partner” in Goldman Sachs at a discounted worth.

Whereas Goldman Sachs shares will not be with out dangers, the market might have overly punished the brokerage’s publicity to the 1MDB financing in 2009.

The Malaysian financing doesn’t seem to pose an existential danger to Goldman Sachs.

In the fullness of time I anticipate that Goldman might be answerable for the reimbursement of the approximate $650 million in charges earned on the Malaysian transaction. As well as, it is fairly attainable that a giant nice could also be imposed. The cumulative impression is more likely to be underneath $2 billion, a manageable determine given Goldman’s capital base. The important thing query is whether or not Goldman Sachs might be topic to felony costs, which might jeopardize the firm’s franchise. Based mostly on the info present obtainable, it appears to me that GS companion Tim Leissner and members of the Malaysian authorities have been doubtless rogue actors and that Goldman’s publicity will probably be contained.

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” — Warren Buffett

The Oracle of Omaha reminds us to not concentrate on short-term swings in worth, however moderately on the underlying worth of our investments.

I worth Goldman Sachs at about $245 a share; barring a going personal transaction this is a affordable two-year worth goal offering a compounded annual price of return in extra of 20% a yr.

Warren Buffett has taught us the worth of being grasping when others are fearful. His stakes in American Categorical (AXP) (the olive oil controversy), Geico (close to chapter) and his quite a few most popular investments throughout the Nice Recession have confirmed to be enormously worthwhile investments and underscore the worth of being an opportunistic long-term investor.


Place: Lengthy GS

2) I additionally agree with Doug’s view that Fb is engaging right here:

Dec 10, 2018 | 08:11 AM EST DOUG KASS

Commerce of the Week: Purchase Fb ($137.42)

Fb’s (FB) fall from grace has been swift and sizeable — maybe an excessive amount of so.

Numerous strategic errors by senior administration have served to scale back the share worth from $210 in mid-July 2018 to solely $137/share as we speak.

I like FB each on a short- and intermediate-term foundation. (I’m including underneath $138 in premarket trading this morning)


  • The share worth decline appears to have materially discounted the future of upper prices and laws.
  • Fb’s technical setup has been enhancing — its shares have been comparatively impervious to the market decline, generally, and to the schmeissing of the FANG area, particularly.
  • On a valuation foundation (notably on a PEG evaluation) FB’s shares have not often been as cheap.
  • The corporate introduced a $9 billion buyback late Friday.

On Nov. 19, 2018 I positioned Fb on my Greatest Concepts Listing (at precisely right now’s worth).

Place: Lengthy FB

three) The Brooklyn Investor weblog with a good pitch of Berkshire Hathaway: Why BRK? Right here’s the conclusion:

I have never even touched valuation right here, however from all of the above, I like BRK a little extra now than I’ve favored it in recent times.
I do not need to time the market and name a peak or something. I’ve made it clear that despite the fact that we might enter a bear market or have a extreme correction at any time, there does not appear to me to be a robust case to be made for an prolonged bear market in the U.S. at the second (well-known final phrases… I do know!)

However the extra frothy issues appear (properly, much less so now with the October/November corrections), the extra fascinating BRK turns into for the above causes.

AND, it is potential that you simply will not hand over a lot when it comes to efficiency to purchase this ‘optionality’, with, in fact, the biggest investor of all time able to pounce if we’ve got any massive disruption in the market. And we will not overlook that BRK has a lot extra levers to tug than most typical funds and even hedge funds; they will purchase personal companies too, or do add-on offers to reinforce the many companies they already personal.

Plus, all that money on the stability sheet doesn’t suggest it is as a lot a drag on BRK’s efficiency as individuals make it out to be.
As for a post-Buffett world, I feel what we’d like is intense rationality and self-discipline to not do silly issues. We all know BRK is not going to leap into Bitcoin, or purchase into bubble shares (I worry we might discover AMZN in the 13-F at an entry worth of $3000 some day; that could be a promote sign!), panic and promote out shares throughout a disaster or something like that. And they won’t be topic to quarter-to-quarter efficiency strain in worry of redemptions. Many of those (and different) benefits are sufficient to maintain me snug with BRK for a very long time.

Additionally, regardless that BRK is not rising the means it used to, and it does not appear to be they’re outperforming as a lot towards the index, it seems like a lot of this is as a consequence of decrease returns in the market generally as the fee of outperformance has been remarkably constant even after 1998.

By proudly owning BRK, you kind of receives a commission at least market efficiency when you anticipate the optionality to be exercised!

four) I feel it’s now doubtless that Brexit gained’t occur for the easy purpose that it was all the time a dumb concept that may harm the UK a lot and subsequently there is no deal that would move Parliament. Consequently, there’ll ultimately be a re-vote towards it. Brexit Revote? Requires a Second Referendum Develop Louder. Excerpt:

Greater than two years after Britons voted to go away the European Union, the U.Okay.’s politicians nonetheless can’t agree on what sort of Brexit they need. Now extra lawmakers are calling for a do-over, a second referendum that would probably reverse the outcomes of the first.

“This is becoming more of a potential outcome,” says Mr. Grieve.

5) Right here’s McKinsey’s response to the NY Occasions article I linked to in my final e mail.

6) The WSJ website online has a fascinating (and sobering) evaluation of the parabolic rise of China’s exports to the U.S. since 1980 and the impression it’s had on us: China: Emergence of a Commerce Leviathan. It’s actually jaw-dropping – nicely value 5 minutes to zip by means of it. Listed here are a few of the most fascinating graphics, as printed in the WSJ at present:

Tilson Brexit