2008 Q1 13F-HR Filings: Klarman, Witmer, Third Ave

Seth Klarman’s Baupost filing is once again littered with SPACs but there are some interesting items to note:

  • Substantial new position in Wellpoint (WLP): Not to be confused with Wellcare (WCG), which Bruce Berkowitz and Mohnish Pabrai (piggybacking off Berkowitz) own. I have a few of the health insurers (UNH, HUM, WCG) on my watchlist ever since the mass sell-off a few months ago but to be honest, health insurers are outside my circle of competence and I haven’t put in the time to research the industry or the companies.
  • Opened a position in International Paper (IP) to complement Baupost’s big stake in Domtar (UFS), to which they added 74% more shares. Klarman hearts paper companies, it seems.
  • In another reminder that piggybacking can be dangerous to your health, Baupost sold off their massive stake in Sallie Mae (SLM), which just last quarter was a huge position for them. It goes to show you that you must do your own due diligence.

Meryl Witmer’s filing is less busy but interesting nonetheless.

  • In Q4 2007, Witmer added 4 new positions (MER, IR, MHK, TT) and in the current quarter, sold off 3 of them, keeping only Mohawk Industries (and upping stake by 60%, making it her largest position). It makes me wonder if my script is working correctly but if it is, looks like Witmer was playing around with merger arbitrage (IR, TT).
  • I’m not sure what the deal with the Merrill Lynch position was but just goes to reinforce that piggybacking without doing your own research is a bad idea.
  • Interesting to see that she did not increase her holdings of American Eagle Outfitters (AEO), despite the sharp drop from her entry price. Perhaps my take on AEO is the right one.
  • Strange little position opened in Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (KERX). Don’t really know what to make of it.

Martin Whitman’s Third Ave Management is always a laundry list of stocks. A few quick points jumped out at me:

  • Third Ave opened some small bearish positions against China & Emerging Markets via FXP and EEV.
  • They still love them some financials, with increased positions in Ambac & MBIA as well as other financial services companies.

Gory details available from the links below:

One Response to “2008 Q1 13F-HR Filings: Klarman, Witmer, Third Ave”

  1. kuuks Says:

    Thanks for the reply to my HRZ question, I will look into FCF again.

    Do you have any idea why Klarman sold out of his FAF position? The spinoff is yet to occur and it’s still quite cheap. Although they have been hurt by the real estate market, if you consider normalized earnings of the insurance segments and then the great and growing information businesses, FAF is a good play. Any insight?

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