Seth Klarman & Marty Whitman Are Sellers But Meryl Witmer Buys in Q3 2009

A reader asks if there is a way to monitor non-equity positions for Seth Klarman’s Baupost Group. The short answer is no, I know of no way to track non-equity holdings for any money manager unless they disclose that information voluntarily via a report or letter. As mentioned on this blog last week, Klarman doesn’t think stocks are cheap and is holding roughly 30% cash, according to notes coming out of his annual meeting (premium subscribers got a more in-depth breakdown of Klarman’s comments).

This serves as a reminder that investors should regard these 13F-HR filings carefully as they offer only an incomplete picture into a money manager’s thoughts.

You can view Seth Klarman’s 13F filing in spreadsheet view here.  A brief summary:

  • Somewhat mirroring my activity in the Enlightened American portfolio, Baupost did much more selling than buying. Notable exits include Horizon Lines (HRZ), a stock I’ve discussed in the past, as well as PDL Biopharma (PDLI) and iStar Financial (SFI, this could be a non-equity position).
  • The only buying Baupost did in equities was a new stake in Enzon Pharmaceuticals (ENZN) and more than doubling their position in Viasat (VSAT),  a satellite and communications company.

Martin Whitman’s picks are embedded in the filing for Third Avenue Management, which encompasses a wide array of funds and managers. Keep that in mind as you review the spreadsheet.

  • Third Avenue money managers may be having trouble finding bargains as only one new equity position was reported during Q3: Russ Berrie & Company (KID, shown as Kids Brand).
  • Big conviction moves entailed more selling than buying as they sizably reduced stakes in REITS like Acadia Realty Trust (AKR) and Prologis (PLD). Other reduced stakes included St Joe (JOE) and the troubled CIT Group (CIT).
  • The only significant add was a double-up in Provident Energy Trust (PVX). I ran a screen a few weeks ago which identified two additional Canadian energy trusts as potential prospects.

After an apparent reorganization, Meryl Witmer’s filings are back under the name of Eagle Value Partners, LLC. They appear to be building a portfolio so readers should just check the spreadsheet for details. Their three largest holdings were Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX), Seacoast Banking Corporation of Florida (SBCF) and First American Corporation (FAF) but Witmer does a lot of overseas investing so take that with a grain of salt.

You can view other managers’ Q3 2009 13F holdings spreadsheets here.

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