Van Den Berg attained the outstanding achievement of having only one year of negative returns in 19 years, from 1988-2006. He is a value investor who has developed an investment philosophy that runs counter to standard market psychology. His strategy incorporates fundamental analysis of individual companies, their industries and competitors. He typically elects to invest in companies at 40% to 60% below the stock’s intrinsic value to maintain a margin of safety and seeks out historic low P/S ratios. He believes that the price paid for a company’s stock ultimately determines the rate of return, not how large or popular the company is.
When fully invested, his typical portfolio will contain 35-40 companies and will reflect his policy of broad diversification. He is extremely selective about which opportunities he chooses and will resist investing until he finds one he feels confident about.
In the first quarter of 2011, Van Den Berg reduced his positions in numerous stocks and bought only one – Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO). Additionally, he sold out of several big-name companies: Walgreen Co. (WAG), Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T), Penney Company Inc. (JCP) and Lecg Corp. (XPRT).
Van Den Berg is also a survivor of the Nazi occupation of Holland. He was smuggled into an orphanage at the age of three and reunited three years later with his parents, who survived Auschwitz. With his diverse life experience, 35 years of investing experience and notable returns, he has much wisdom to share with GuruFocus readers.
Performance of CM Value I Composite
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You can learn more about how Van Den Berg invests in the articles below:
GuruFocus has hosted several of our gurus for dialogues with our readers, including Donald Yacktman, Joel Greenblatt, Mason Hawkins and Zeke Ashton.
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