(GuruFocus, November 22, 2009) Investment Guru Michael Price learned his ropes from another legendary figure Max Heine. He joined Heine’s firm Mutual Series in 1975 as an analyst, earning $200 a month. When Heine died in 1988, he became the president and chairman of the firm and in 1996 he sold the company to Franklin Templeton Investments. In 2001, he left the firm to begin his own fund company MFP Investors LLC.
Price was named the No. 277 richest person in the US back in September 2009 with $1.6 billion net worth.
A Peculiar thing happened when I tried to find more about MFP Investors, the firm Michael Price started: it is hard to find the company’s website. I understand the hedge fund managers want to stay out of spotlight, but no website? All I find is a list of websites, leading by “GuruFocus.com” which tracks Michael Price’s stock portfolio. If someone has more information and insight in this issue, please let us know.
However, I did find this video with Michael Price interviewed by Charlie Rose on July 16, 1996, after Price sold his firm Mutual Series to Franklin Templeton. Notice his opinion towards investing in technology companies.
The billionaire head of MFP Investors LLC likes to invest in stocks that have "really been trashed" and thinks newspapers are king of the heap.
His company has "a few million dollars" invested for the long haul inThe Washington Post. Since most of the $1.6 billion under his company's management is Price's own money, he takes such investments personally.
Price hopes that altruistic and deep-pocketed foundations – such as Warren Buffett's or Bill Gates' – will cut deals with newspapers to absorb their losses until they figure out how to make money in the brave new virtual world. In return, newspapers would give the foundations a percentage of revenue from online sources. He sees this happening in the next few years.
"If we can somehow get these foundations to realize that if they can spend millions of dollars for vaccines in Ghana, what about absorbingThe Washington Post's $30 million in annual losses to keep that content flowing?" he said.
"The guys at Google don't want to provide content," Price told me after his speech. "They want to do searches and transmit it. Amazon wants to transmit it. The idea is the foundations can step in and bridge this gap until the industry figures out how to get them a return for it. There's a lot of public good in the meantime."
Will Warren Buffett and Bill Gates work together to save the newspapers? We will be interested to see. But Basing an investment thesis on the other people's kindness? no wonder the reporter is not too warm about it.
Read the article in entirety as it contains great ideas from other great investors too.
As of now, specifically on September 30, 2009, these are the top holdings of Michael Price:
No. 1: ConocoPhillips (COP), Weightings: 4.63% - 346,500 Shares
ConocoPhillips is a major international integrated energy company with operations in some 49 countries. Conocophillips has a market cap of $77.23 billion; its shares were traded at around $52.08 with a P/E ratio of 14.04 and P/S ratio of 0.32. The dividend yield of Conocophillips stocks is 3.84%. Conocophillips had an annual average earning growth of 19% over the past 10 years.
No. 2: Wyeth (WYE) (Pfizer Inc. (PFE)), Weightings: 4.32% - 300,000 Shares
Wyeth is one of the world's largest research-driven pharmaceutical and health care products companies. Wyeth has a market cap of $64.32 billion; its shares were traded at around $0 with a P/E ratio of 13.57 and P/S ratio of 2.82. The dividend yield of Wyeth stocks is 2.49%. Wyeth had an annual average earning growth of 5.8% over the past 10 years.
WYE merged with Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (PFE) in October. Price might hold Pfizer now.
No. 3: Terra Industries Inc. (TRA), Weightings: 4.16% - 405,000 Shares
Terra Industries, Inc. is an industry leader in the production and marketing of both nitrogen products and methanol. Terra Industries Inc. has a market cap of $4 billion; its shares were traded at around $40.06 with a P/E ratio of 12.52 and P/S ratio of 1.38. The dividend yield of Terra Industries Inc. stocks is 1%. Terra Industries Inc. had an annual average earning growth of 53.1% over the past 5 years.
No. 4: Forest City Enterprises Inc. (FCE-A), Weightings: 3.85% - 972,800 Shares
FOREST CITY ENTERPRI, INC. is a national real estate company which acquires, develops, lease & manages residential properties; owns, acquires, develops & manages retail, office & urban entertainment projects; acquires & sells both raw land & developed lots to commercial, industrial & residential users; & acts as a wholesale lumber trading company. Forest City Enterprises Inc. has a market cap of $1.13 billion; its shares were traded at around $10.88 with and P/S ratio of 0.87. Forest City Enterprises Inc. had an annual average earning growth of 5.5% over the past 10 years. GuruFocus rated Forest City Enterprises Inc. the business predictability rank of 5-star.
No. 5: IngersollRand Company Ltd. (IR), Weightings: 3.6% - 396,034 Shares
Ingersoll Rand Company is one of the leading providers of security and safety, climate control, industrial productivity and infrastructure products. Ingersollrand Company Ltd. has a market cap of $11.49 billion; its shares were traded at around $36 with a P/E ratio of 21.3 and P/S ratio of 0.87. The dividend yield of Ingersollrand Company Ltd. stocks is 0.78%. Ingersollrand Company Ltd. had an annual average earning growth of 4.6% over the past 10 years.
No. 6: Conseco Inc. (CNO), Weightings: 3.31% - 2,122,814 Shares
Conseco, Inc. is one of middle America's leading sources for supplemental health insurance, life insurance and annuities. Conseco Inc. has a market cap of $929.98 million; its shares were traded at around $5.03 with a P/E ratio of 5.35 and P/S ratio of 0.22.
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