Irving Kahn, value investor with unsurpassed longevity who is still involved at age 106 at the firm he founded in 1978, Kahn Brothers & Company Inc., bought no new stocks in the first quarter. He did add to eight holdings. The top two were a 54 percent increase in his Bank of America (BAC) holding, and a 16.5 percent increase in his New York Times (NYT) holding, which was his seventh consecutive quarter to add to that position. He made smaller adds to Patterson (PTEN), Citigroup (C), Provident Financial (PROV), Mmodal (MODL), Nam Tai Electronics (NTE) and Old Republic International (ORI). See the details on these latest updates to his portfolio here.
In a December 2011 CNN interview, Kahn said that his investing “idol” is Ben Graham and that he sticks to the 20 or so stocks that he owns, meaning that the day-to-day vagaries of the businesses and the headlines do not mean much to him.
Bank of America (BAC) is a long-term holding for Irving Kahn. He bought a position of 48,093 shares at an average price of about $51 per share. He held on to the stock through the recession, though he traded small portions of shares, and had been selling several thousand shares in the four quarters prior to his most recent quarter. In the first quarter of 2012, he added 20,692 shares at an average price of about $8 each.
In 2011, Bank of America’s reported net income of $1.4 billion, compared to a net loss of $2.2 billion in 2010. The biggest net income increase was in the card services segment, which jumped from a net loss of $6.98 billion in 2010 to net income of $5.8 billion in 2011. The increase was due primarily to a $10.4 billion non-cash, non-tax deductible goodwill impairment charge in 2010 and a decrease in the provision for credit losses. Revenue in that segment declined from $22.3 billion in 2010 to $18.1 billion in 2011 were driven by lower average loan balances and yields.
New York Times (NYT)
Kahn increased his holding of New York Times (NYT) by 585,850 shares at an average price near $7 in the first quarter of 2012. The add marked the seventh consecutive quarter that Kahn enlarged this holding. At the end of the first quarter he owned a total of 4,145,290 shares, a 5.1 percent weighting in his portfolio.
The New York Times announced its 2011 annual report on Feb. 23, 2012. Revenues declined 3 percent as total company advertising revenues declined. However, for the six-month period ending March 31, 2012, weekly circulation of The New York Times grew 73% for Monday-Friday over the same period one year ago, and 50 percent for Sunday. The company attributed the rise to the popularity of The Times’ digital subscription packages, which it launched in the U.S. on March 28, 2011, as well as ABC rules on reporting digital circulation. Total average print circulation was down modestly.
Scott Heekin-Canedy, president and general manager, The New York Times said, “This latest ABC statement illustrates the great strength of the overall New York Times brand and our strong performance in the period is a tribute to the success of our digital subscription strategy. In addition, we believe that the new ABC rules have allowed us to offer a true reflection of the actual cross platform usage of our products by our highly engaged group of paid subscribers.”
The Boston Globe boasted a 2.5 percent increase in Sunday circulation and 2.9 percent increase in daily circulation, its first circulation increase since September 2004.