Howard Marks (Trades, Portfolio) is one of the clearst thinkers on Wall Street. His memos are required reading according to Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio) and he has provided investors with consistent high returns since founding Oaktree in 1995.
His top three buys for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2013, were:
Surgical Care Affiliates
Oaktree bought 2328027 shares of Surgical Care Affiliates (SCAI) for a 1.4% impact on the portfolio. SCAI shares averaged 30.47 over the quarter, a mere 1% below the current price.
Guru investor Chuck Royce (Trades, Portfolio) was also busy buying shares in the company over the last quarter. Surgical Care Affiliates, Inc., based in Deerfield, Ill., is the U.S.’s largest outpatient ambulatory surgical care company. The company is the former outpatient surgical division of HealthSouth Corporation. The company has network of 185 outpatient surgery centers and three surgical hospitals located in 34 states.
Howard marks bought 1,287,734 shares of Contango Oil & Gas (MCF) at prices between $37.69 and $48.44. The stock is currently trading at a 7% discount to the average price during the quarter.
The company is engaged in the exploration, development, production and acquisition of natural gas and oil properties offshore in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The company has an offshore interest in the Alta Resources Investments LLC, whose primary area of focus is the liquids-rich Kaybob Duvernay in Alberta, Canada; Exaro Energy III LLC, which is primarily focused on the development of proved natural gas reserves in the Jonah Field in Wyoming; and the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale.
The third buy from Oaktree was in a company called Crown Castle International (CCIPRA). It owns, operates and leases towers, rooftop installations and other communication structures (collectively, 'towers) for wireless communications. The company's main business is the renting of antenna space to wireless communications companies under long-term contracts. The company also provides certain network services to its customers, including initial antenna installation and augmentation, network design and site selection, site acquisition, site development, site management and other services.
Marks bought 455,000 shares of CCIPRA at prices between $97.92 and $102.83. The stock is trading at a 2% premium to the average price during the quarter.