Markel is an insurance company that is investing the premiums it collects in the stock market in the same vein as Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)(BRK.B). Tom Gayner (Trades, Portfolio) has been the head of the asset management division and the chief investment officer since 2004. He has a bottom up value investment approach and has been described as very conservative in his choices, focusing first of all on not losing capital.
Here are his top three buys for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2013:
- Copart (CPRT): The company provides vehicle sellers with a full range of services to process and sell vehicles over the Internet through its Virtual Bidding Second Generation Internet auction-style sales technology, which it refers to as VB2. Vehicle sellers consist primarily of insurance companies, but also include banks and financial institutions, charities, car dealerships, fleet operators and vehicle rental companies. Tom Gayner (Trades, Portfolio) added 280,000 shares to his stake in the company (2700% increase) at prices between $31.16 and $36.58. The stock is trading at a 3% premium to the average high-low price range over the quarter. Other notable guru holders of the stock include Steve Cohen, Ray Dalio (Trades, Portfolio) and Paul Tudor Jones.
- Unilever (UL): The company is a worldwide brand name and a supplier of fast-moving consumer goods. Its four principal areas of operations are: Personal Care, Home Care, Foods and Refreshment. Tom Gayner (Trades, Portfolio) bought 217,000 shares in the company at prices between $37.67 and $41.06. The stock is trading at the average high-low price range over the quarter. Other notable guru holders of the stock include Manning & Napier, Dodge & Cox and Bill Nygren (Trades, Portfolio).
- BlackRock (BLK): The company provides investment management and securities lending services to institutional clients and to individual investors through various investment vehicles. Investment management services mainly consist of the management of fixed income, cash management and equity client accounts, the management of a number of open-end and closed-end mutual fund families, exchange traded funds and other non-U.S. equivalent retail products serving the institutional and retail markets, and the management of other investments funds, including common trusts and alternative funds, developed to serve various customer needs. Markel added 26,100 shares in the company at prices between $262.75 and $316.38. The stock is trading at a 2% premium to the average high-low price range over the quarter. Other notable guru holders of the stock include George Soros and Jeremy Grantham (Trades, Portfolio).