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David Sokol Keeps Buying Middleburg Financial

August 24, 2011 | About:
Canadian Value

CanadianValue

210 followers
If you didn’t lose your respect for David Sokol during the Lubrizol (LZ) scandal then you have a chance to invest alongside him in his latest venture.

Sokol keeps gobbling up shares of Middleburg Financial (MBRG) and according to the filing below, now owns 22% of the small financial institution:

http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/914138/000114036111043444/xslF345X03/doc1.xml

Sokol has a family connection to Middleburg:

“While it’s good to have friends in high places, it’s even better to have family there.

CEO Gary Shook has found both in David Sokol, one of famed investor Warren Buffett’s top lieutenants at Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and a long-rumored candidate to lead Berkshire after Buffett.

Sokol owns some $19.3 million in Middleburg stock, making him the bank’s biggest shareholder. And his holdings may be getting a lot bigger. The company authorized him to increase his ownership stake by 50 percent.

Sokol is known as a long-term investor, and his interest in Middleburg suggests he sees bright days ahead for the bank. However, Sokol and Shook share a little-known family connection, and it’s unclear what impact that relationship has had on Sokol’s decision to invest.

Shook met Sokol in 2003 at a family wedding in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Sokol’s daughter was the bride; she married the brother of Shook’s wife. Shook was a groomsman.

Shook also met Buffett at the wedding and says he has gotten to know both Berkshire Hathaway leaders. “They’re certainly not bad guys to know,” he said.

At the time, Shook was a senior vice president at Fauquier Bank Two years later, he joined Middleburg as head of its bank subsidiary and has since also become president and CEO of the holding company, which has $1.1 billion in assets.

Sokol’s investments in Middleburg have coincided with Shook’s ascension at the bank, though Shook says Sokol was interested in the bank before Shook joined and that the timing of his investments there is just a coincidence.

“David’s a nice guy, but I don’t think anybody in this world would invest the kind of money he invested in this company if he’s not genuinely interested in investing in community banks,” Shook said. “It’s just too much money to be doing it as a favor to a family member.”

Entire article on the Sokol/Middleburg relationship:

http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/print-edition/2010/11/05/middleburgs-berkshire-benefactor-has.html

The market cap on Middleburg is in the $100 million range, so this is a tiny company and one that Sokol could have a big impact on if he wants to. Whether that is a positive or negative remains to be seen I suppose.

About the author:

CanadianValue
http://valueinvestorcanada.blogspot.com/

Rating: 3.6/5 (7 votes)

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