Behind The Idea Podcast: Disney

Two weeks ago I was on the Behind The Idea podcast with Daniel Shvartsman to share my views on Disney. The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson also contributed at the 50 minute mark.

Here’s the write-up:

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4198481-rest-disneys-story-brian-langis-derek-thompson-podcast

And this is the podcast itself –

https://soundcloud.com/behind_the_idea/behind-the-idea-29-the-rest-of-the-disney-story-wderek-thompson-and-brian-langis

This comes about the article on Disney I wrote back in May that got quite a reaction. The article has some thoughts and insights on the future of Disney and ESPN. Disney is a leader in content and that it has to figure out distribution in the modern internet era. It was a short article that I wrote fairly quickly. The podcast gave me an opportunity to expand on my analysis of Disney. There’s also some discussion on value investing and other stocks.

I hope you enjoy the podcast!

Topics covered:

Brian Langis interview – 2:00 minute mark to 49:00 minute mark

  • 2:00 – Reviewing Brian’s thesis and a new hope for Disney
  • 7:45 – What are you watching for in the transition to streaming? When does the tipping point come?
  • 16:00 – How big a deal is Fox (FOX) (FOXA), how much to worry about $20B extra? The running cost of content and the offense/defense game.
  • 20:00 – Looking at Netflix (NFLX) across the aisle from Disney
  • 24:45 – Getting to the numbers for Disney. What is the story there?
  • 28:30 – How do we avoid getting attached to Disney shares when we enjoy Disney products?
  • 35:30 – Talking value investing in an expensive market, and a cheesy answer. Getting to Alimentation Couche Tard (OTCPK:ANCUF) and Dollarama (OTC:DLMAF) as examples.
  • 41:00 – What has changed in the past five years for your investing?
  • 45:30 – The Iger risk for Disney.

Derek Thompson Interview – 50:00 minute mark to 1:30 minute mark.

  • 50:00 – Setting the scene on Disney, one of the most interesting companies in the world
  • 54:30 – Why does Disney have a good chance of pulling off the transition to streaming?
  • 56:30 – Why relinquish ESPN to decline? What barriers are there?
  • 1:01:30 – What do the economics look like once Disney makes it to streaming land?
  • 1:08 – Are we at the tipping point where video is too easy to make, thus drowning out Disney’s advantage?
  • 1:16 – How important is Fox?
  • 1:19 – Vertical integration – is this business different? Why not work together with Netflix?
  • 1:27 – Let’s get into the fintwit discussion

 

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Is Tesla a Fraud?

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The Intelligent Investing Podcast – Copyright 2017 Eric Schleien

I had the pleasure to be back on The Intelligent Investing Podcast with Eric Schleien. This is a big one. We are talking about Tesla and the problems that company is facing. We examined its valuation, its history, the bull case, and the short case.

Enjoy!

Is Tesla a Fraud?

The Intelligent Investing Podcast – Stocks & Poutine

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The Intelligent Investing Podcast – Copyright 2017 Eric Schleien

I had the privilege of being a guest on The Intelligent Investing Podcast with Eric Schleien. Eric is an excellent host and I had a blast doing this. We mainly talked about Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) and we also touched on Shopify (SHOP), investor behavior that led to inferior returns, and poutine. Eric also found some crazy filings on Reddit. What was originally supposed to be a 30 minute podcast turned into over an hour. Time flies when you are having fun. I’ve listened to a few episodes and Eric’s podcast is a great way to learn more about investing and to get exposed to investing ideas.

If you like listening to podcasts like I do, Google has a new podcast app, called Google Podcast.  If you are on Android, I find it better than their default Play Music app which I’m not fond of.  If you are with iOS (iPhone), you can also use Google Podcast. The app has a minimalist design which I like.

You can listen to The Intelligent Investing Podcast by Eric Schleien here:

Even though we talked about Brookfield Asset Management (BAM), we barely scratched the surface. I am currently writing a post on Brookfield Asset Management that I hope to linked to the podcast soon. BAM is a huge organization with a rich history that’s over 100 years old that goes all the way back to Brazil. I wanted to elaborate on some points. Once completed it can be seen as a companion to the podcast.

Where, Oh Where Are the .400 Hitters of Yesteryear? by Peter L. Bernstein

Peter L. Bernstein, the editor of Journal of Portfolio Management and the famous writer of two popular finance books — Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street and Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risks. In this article, Bernstein has taken on  has taken Stephen Gould’s theses in Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin about the 0.400 hits in baseball , and correlates it to the business and portfolio management. In his book, Gould talks about the the disappearance of the .400 hitter. What happened? Do batters have less skill than they used to have? Gould rejects that possibility as highly improbable, especially in a society that cultivates talent with as much zeal as U.S. society does. Bernstein said that “Portfolio managers performance data reveal patterns that are very similar to what actually happens in the baseball world”.

This article demonstrates that potential .400 hitters in the stock market are falling short of their goal because growing numbers of today’s investors are sufficiently educated, sophisticated, and informed to block their way, just as batters capable of achieving a .400 average have fallen short of that goal since the old days because defending teams have developed sufficient skill to block their way.

Where, Oh Where Are the .400 Hitters of Yesteryear? by Peter L. Bernstein

On The Future Of Disney And ESPN

My latest article on Seeking Alpha focus on Disney and the future of the business. The full article is available on their website here.


On The Future Of Disney And ESPN

By Brian Langis

Summary

  • Focus on the long-term, 5 to 10 years.
  • Disney’s approach to streaming ESPN and Disney+ could determine the future of television.
  • Disney could be viewed as a service company in the future – that would benefit the stock.
  • The Media segment is Disney’s biggest segment and is under pressure. It will take ESPN+ to replace the losses.
  • In 2006-2007, analysts and shareholders hated Netflix for investing in the streaming platform instead of focusing on DVD rental.

The following article are some thoughts and insights on the future of Disney and ESPN. If you are looking for a DCF model of the next ten years this is not the right article.

I love Disney (DIS). I have two small children and Disney helps with me with parenting. I’m also a Disney shareholder, so is my daughter when I gave her one share at her first Christmas. As a shareholder I do need to follow the company for myself and my family.

Part of the investment thesis is based on Disney’s capacity to transform itself from a traditional TV/Media to digital streaming with ESPN+ and Disney+ (I don’t think Disney has released the name for their streaming platform, so I’m calling it Disney+). A Disney+ app set to debut in 2019 will offer on-demand viewing of Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and other television and movie content. Yesterday Disney released their Q2 results. Below is the revenues break-down by division Q2:

  • Media and networks: $6.14 billion vs. $6.09 billion expected
    Parks and resorts: $4.88 billion vs. $4.69 billion expected
    Studio: $2.45 billion vs. $2.19 billion expected
    Consumer and interactive: $1.08 billion vs. $1.14 billion expected

The Media segment is Disney’s biggest segment and is under pressure (-6% net income last quarter) however the Parks and Studio division is helping absorb the subscriber loss bleeding at ESPN. “The Worldwide Leader” in sports is going through an identity crisis (what’s going on with SportsCenter?), is losing rapidly losing subscribers (peak ~100m vs ~80m today) due to cable cutting , and is hit by escalating rising cost attached to their massive sports-right contracts. To help the transition to digital and to “save” ESPN, the Company unveiled a paid streaming service as ESPN looks to combat mounting subscriber losses that have weighted on the bottom line of Disney. Disney has big plans to sell its stuff directly to consumers (Direct-To-Consumer or D2C). ESPN+ is a first step. D2C bypass intermediaries and allows Disney to control the user experience.

Read the here.

 

Martin J. Whitman – Value Investor

Martin Whitman, an incredible value investor and teacher, passed away at 93 years old (Business Wire). Below are a short compilation of links on the value investing legend. The shareholder letters are great. I learned a lot from Martin. You can more investment wisdom by other great investors archived here.

“The financial world is so complex and unpredictable that a fair amount of our analyses will prove to have been flawed…. A dirt-cheap price is an anchor to windward against misperceiving current situations, or being unable to make accurate forecasts.”

—Marty Whitman

ECN Capital Preferred Shares Is Victim Of Collateral Damage

My latest article on Seeking Alpha is on the drop on value of ECN and its preferred shares on March 16th. It turns out that the drop in share prices has nothing to do with its fundamentals or any related bad news. Below is a short summary of the article. Full article at Seeking Alpha.


ECN Capital Preferred Shares Is Victim Of Collateral Damage

Reposted from Seeking Alpha
By Brian Langis

Summary

  • Both classes of preferred shares fell for unexplained reasons.
  • ECN preferred shares seem victim of collateral damage by the company’s association to Element Financial.
  • The recent selloff provides an interesting investing opportunity.
  • Both classes of preferred shares provide a yield of +7%. More upside once they reset.

 

ECN Capital (OTCPK:ECNCF) [TSX:ECN] is primarily traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker ECN.

Note: Dollar amounts are in Canadian $ unless mentioned otherwise. USD-CAD 1.2839 Price of 1 USD in CAD as of March 23, 2018.

I just wanted to drop a short note on the ECN Capital (ECNCF, ECN.TO) preferred shares. Both classes of preferred shares have taken a hit on March 16, 2018. Why it happened is not exactly clear, and this article will dive into the possible causes. I’m not the first one to look at the unusual drop. KT Investments has his take on what happened to ECN Preferreds here. For a more in-depth analysis on ECN Capital, you can read my article here and the one by Montrealer.

In short, ECN is commercial finance company. ECN Capital operates in four verticals: Home Improvement Finance (Service Finance), Manufactured Housing Finance (Triad Financial Services), Rail Finance, and Aviation Finance. It is well managed and is led by Steve Hudson. Hudson’s focus on capital allocation has created value for shareholders, especially when he was the CEO of Element Fleet Management (OTC:ELEEF) (EFN.TO). Hudson eats his own cooking; he owns millions of shares of ECN. ECN is profitable and has plenty of assets to back the preferred shares.

The purpose of this article is to try to make sense of the drop of ECN Capital Preferred Shares Class A and C. ECN Capital Class A (ECN.PR.A) was trading above par back in November with a 52-week high of $26. It’s now down to $22.60. Class C was trading in the high $23 range for most of the year until recently. It’s now trading at $20.60 a share. ECN’s financials are fine, there wasn’t any bad news, and the rise in interest rates should benefit both classes of shares because of their fixed reset features. It’s worth pointing out that other fixed-resets preferred shares have been doing well. So what’s going on with the preferred?

First let’s look at the criteria of each class:

ECN Capital Class A – ECN.PR.A – Reset: Dec 30, 2021. (Issued November 2016) (Prospectus on SEDAR)

  • Shares Capital: 4,000,000 shares @ $25 for $100,000,000
  • 5 Yr Canada Gov Bond + 5.44%. Yield Floor: 6.50%
  • Price: $22.80
  • Current Yield: 7.17%
  • DBRS Rating: Pfd-3 (low)

ECN Capital Class C – ECN.PR.C – Reset June 30, 2022 (Issued May 2017) (Prospectus on SEDAR)

  • Share Capital: 4,000,000 shares @ $25 for $100,000,000
  • 5 Yr Canada Gov Bond + 5.19% Yield Floor: 6.25%
  • Price: $20.73
  • Current Yield: 7.51%
  • DBRS Rating: Pfd-3(low)

Both Class A and C took a tumble this month.

Charlie Munger At The 2018 Daily Journal Corporation AGM

It’s been a while since I posted anything on Seeking Alpha. I was due. The post is part of my California trip. More posts on the subject will come later. Here’s the part of my trip at that concerns Charlie Munger.

The article is available on Seeking Alpha. They have exclusive rights. Here’s a preview:


Charlie Munger At The 2018 Daily Journal Corporation AGM

Reposted from Seeking Alpha
From Brian Langis

Summary

  • Charlie Munger did a two-hour Q&A. He answered questions on a variety of topics.
  • DJCO is a cult stock. It’s not in an attractive business, but the company has gained a following with Munger as its Chairman.
  • In 2009, DJCO invested its excess cash in a portfolio of securities that has gained in value. This portfolio of securities and dividend provides a cushion to DJCO.
  • DJCO is not a mini Berkshire Hathaway.

*I was in LA for the DJCO AGM. If you are reading this article for an advance analysis on DJCO, you won’t really find it. This article is about the AGM and Charlie Munger.

I recently attended the annual shareholder meeting of Daily Journal Corp. (DJCO) in Los Angeles. I am not a shareholder in DJCO, and I don’t plan to be one anytime soon. But I wouldn’t overlook the company either. I will explain later. So, why attend? The main reason for attending a DJCO AGM is not for its results or the company itself, but for the opportunity to hear Charlie Munger’s wisdom in his Q&A segment, who is the chairman of DJCO. Also, part of the reason for attending is the DJCO meeting reveals itself as a community gathering of fun, fellowship, and learning. There are dinners, lunches, and social gatherings related to investing. It’s great to see familiar faces and to meet new people. Ideas are generated and exchanged. You learn a lot. Attending these investment events is a way for me to regenerate myself. It’s like adding wood to a fire. It fuels the core of why I do this for a living. I can’t wait to get back to my desk. Value investing is a lone wolf business. You spend a lot of time in your bubble. Sometimes, you can drift, so it’s good to re-center yourself. Like the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) AGM, the DJCO one offers a great experience for any serious investors on a much smaller scale. Continue reading “Charlie Munger At The 2018 Daily Journal Corporation AGM”

Investment Collection Additions

I added a few links to the Investment Collection segment. Here are some new links:

 

The Investment Collection

I want to introduce a new section to the blog: The Investment Collection. It’s simply a collection of links and resources that I found interesting. I will try to update it when I have time. Why am I doing this? First, I wanted to gather some of the most important investment material under one roof. Second, somehow stuff gets lost on the Internet. The resources are not simply about investing. It is about becoming a better human being. Learning from the success and failure of others is the fastest way to get smarter and wiser without a lot of pain.

The best thing a human being can do is help another human being know more. – Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, 2010