Famed piano maker Steinway sold for $512 million to Paulson

Famed piano maker Steinway sold for $512 million

Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY10:22 a.m. EDT August 14, 2013

enerable piano maker Steinway is being sold in a $512 million deal after hedge fund manager John Paulson made sweeter music for investors by topping a tentative July agreement with from Kohlberg & Co. The Waltham, Mass.-based company announced Wednesday it had terminated the $35-per-share deal with Kohlberg and reached a definitive merger agreement with entities of Paulson & Co. at $40 per share. Steinway shares were up more than 5% to $40.30 in premarket trading Wednesday. Under terms of the cash transaction, a Paulson affiliate will commence a tender offer within five business days to acquire all outstanding shares of Steinway’s common stock in preparation for taking the instrument company private. The company’s board of directors unanimously recommended that stockholders tender their shares. Steinway said it would pay Kohlberg a termination fee totaling approximately $6.7 million. “The company’s proven business model and highly skilled employees provide a strong foundation on which to expand,” Paulson said in a formal statement. “We fully intend to maintain the superb quality of Steinway’s musical instruments, which are the finest in the world.” Read more of this post

Diageo to Qatar Pouncing on India as Debt Woes Weigh on Sellers

Diageo to Qatar Pouncing on India as Debt Woes Weigh on Sellers

India’s economy is growing at the slowest pace in a decade, companies are burdened by record debt and governance is so bad that even local cement billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla is reluctant to invest in the country. Yet some foreign entities, from Diageo Plc (DGE) to Qatar’s government, are undaunted, finding buying opportunities as Indian firms look to shed assets to free up cash. Inbound acquisitions of Indian assets reached $9.9 billion in the first half, the most for a six-month period in two years, data compiled by Bloomberg show. A tumbling Indian currency and falling valuations have made deals cheaper for overseas companies, who are drawn by the long-term promise of rising consumption by a swelling middle class. More transactions may come as Indian companies from Reliance Communications Ltd. to DLF Ltd. (DLFU) prepare to sell assets. “This is a good time for international companies to look at India,” said Ajay Saraf, head of investment banking at ICICI Securities Ltd. in Mumbai. “Indian corporate owners are more open to dialogue than before.” That was the case with liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who sold a stake in United Spirits Ltd. (UNSP), the maker of Bagpiper whiskey, to London-based Diageo. Mallya had been under financial pressure after his Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. (KAIR) had racked up more debt than it could repay. The transaction gave Diageo, the world’s biggest distiller, effective control of United Spirits. Read more of this post

India Restricts Foreign-Exchange Outflows

India Restricts Foreign-Exchange Outflows

India announced restrictions on foreign-currency outflows by local companies and individuals after measures to contain a record current-account deficit and attract overseas investors failed to steady the rupee.

The Reserve Bank of India reduced the amount that companies can invest overseas without seeking approval to 100 percent of their net worth from 400 percent, according to an e-mailed statement today. Residents can remit $75,000 in each financial year, from a previous limit of $200,000. The rupee erased losses in the offshore market after the announcement. Read more of this post

“Worthless, Impossible, And Stupid” Investing in Media Companies in Asia and Europe. Bamboo Innovator is featured in BeyondProxy.com, where value investing lives

Bamboo Innovator is featured in BeyondProxy.com, where value investing lives:

  • “Worthless, Impossible, And Stupid” Investing in Media Companies in Asia and Europe, Aug 14, 2013 (BeyondProxy)


Buffett drew a top offer of $118,000 for an all-you-can-eat tour of a See’s Candies factory; “It’s an opportunity to see the iconic Oracle of Omaha in an unconventional setting,”

Buffett Tops Reese Witherspoon as Charity Auction Draw


Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), drew a top offer of $118,000 for an all-you-can-eat tour of a See’s Candies factory, with less than 3 hours left in the charity auction. Bidding has climbed from less than $50,000 earlier today and $17,000 when it began on July 25. Buffett is among celebrities who are supporting auctions to benefit Communities in Schools of Los Angeles, a high school dropout-prevention program. The top offer for lunch with actress Reese Witherspoon was $6,000. Bidding is scheduled to end today at 4:20 p.m. in New York for the lunch and two minutes later for the candy tour. Buffett, 82, has committed most of his wealth to charity and encouraged others to increase giving. He helped raise more than $15 million over 14 years for San Francisco’s Glide Foundation through an annual auction in which he joins the winner for lunch. Bidders for the See’s auction are vying for a half-day tour for four people at the Los Angeles factory. “It’s an opportunity to see the iconic Oracle of Omaha in an unconventional setting,” Coppy Holzman, chief executive officer of Charitybuzz.com, which hosts the auction, said today in an interview. “Anytime Warren Buffett agrees to lend his name, and his time to a charity, it’s a really great thing.” Buffett, the world’s third-richest man, will sign an autograph for the winner, who can take a photo, according to the website. The billionaire won’t be guiding the tour. “Before or after your tour, Mr. Buffett will demonstrate the only acceptable way to eat a bonbon,” Charitybuzz.com said on its website. Buffett bought See’s in 1972 at the urging of Berkshire (BRK/B) Vice Chairman Charles Munger. Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire announced plans in May to expand operations of the 92-year-old candy maker to new markets in the Midwest, South and East in the coming years.

To contact the reporter on this story: Megan Hickey in New York at mhickey18@bloomberg.net

Beating the Market for 20 Years: David Herro of Oakmark International scours the globe for undervalued, unloved stocks


Beating the Market for 20 Years


David Herro of Oakmark International scours the globe for undervalued, unloved stocks.. Here are his best investment ideas in Japan, Australia, and, of all places, Europe.

A few money managers manage to beat their benchmark in any given year, and a select group string together longer periods of outperformance, but not many have taken the index out into the woods and thrashed it as severely – over two decades – as David Herro. A $10,000 investment in his fund, Oakmark International (ticker: OAKIX), in 1992 is now worth about $88,000, versus $34,000 for the MSCI EAFE index. Over the past year, his 43% return has doubled that of the index. His performance has not gone unnoticed: In 2010, Morningstar named him manager of the decade, and Barron’s has written about Herro’s market-beating returns (see Interview, “Driven by a Vision of Global Growth,” Feb. 19, 2007). Despite running an international fund, Herro eschews a geography-specific approach and focuses instead on company’s valuation and quality. His favored measures are free cash flow yield, business structure, and how efficiently management allocates capital. Sometimes Herro’s bottom-up approach looks a lot like a great macro call. Late last year he started loading up on Japanese stocks right before they began a furious rally that took the Nikkei 80% higher in six months. In keeping with his value orientation, he was already dialing back his exposure before the rally faded in late spring. Read more of this post

Buffett-Style Dinner Auctions Lure Chinese Seeking Just Society

Buffett-Style Dinner Auctions Lure Chinese Seeking Just Society

Wei Qian perked up at work on a Monday in May when she stumbled across an ad for an online auction offering dinner in Beijing with her favorite political-science author. She decided to dump her long-planned beach holiday in Thailand with her three best friends and use the money to make a bid instead. The 29-year-old bank employee was determined to finally meet her idol, Liu Yu, a Columbia University PhD graduate she calls the Goddess of Democracy. That afternoon Wei logged into the site, called the Meat Shop, and waited until 26 minutes were left before placing her first bid. The price jumped rapidly as 17 people sparred for the dinner. With 58 seconds to go, Wei put up 11,300 yuan ($1,846) – – more than two months’ salary and her whole summer travel budget. Her heart raced until the clock ticked down and she won. With that last click, Wei joined a novel online cause in China, known as the “meal delivery” program. Proceeds from the Meat Shop go to support human rights activists and the families of jailed political dissidents, a gesture that could be considered an affront to the ruling Communist Party. Wei says she wasn’t deterred when she noticed the shop’s goals, especially given Liu Yu’s participation. “It’s a very expensive dinner, even if it was with Warren Buffett,” the pony-tailed Wei says in an interview at a cafe in Ningbo, eastern China, referring to the billionaire investor’s annual charity lunch auction. “But for Liu Yu, it’s worth it.” Read more of this post

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