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Semi-Retired Fund Manager
Contributor's Links: Bronte Capital Cooking With John

My name is John Hempton and I am a (semi) retired fund manager based in Sydney Australia. My key expertise is in banks and insurance companies though my investing interests extend widely.  I run the Bronte Capital Blog. The purpose of this blog is to explore ... more

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Mattel: Buybacks, Barbie And Dead Babies
I used to be of the view that suggested that buybacks were just another way of distributing to shareholders - a bit like dividends, selectively applied. But companies can impair themselves with buybacks in ways that you just couldn't with dividends.
A Quick Note On The Resignations At The Top Of National Australia Bank
I am not sure that any Australian banker deserved to come out of the Royal Commission unscathed, but in a relative sense injustice has been done.
Thoughts On The Herbalife Results
Herbalife reported after market Wednesday and there was a lot of noise. But let's cut through all of that. Here are my thoughts...
Just How Bad Is It For Big Tobacco? And A Business Idea For An Ambitious Investment Banker
Big tobacco stocks have had a bad month. Philip Morris had its worst day (for stock performance) in a decade.
The Importance Of GE's Credit Rating
The cover story in Barrons is on GE's dim prospects. But there is one last shoe to drop, and it wasn't covered in Andrew Bary's excellent article. That is that GE's credit rating - and hence its business - is under threat.
Herbalife And Bill Ackman In Furious Agreement
Bill Ackman announced that Pershing Square was settling an insider trading securities class action. But Mr Ackman seems to think that a settlement of approximately $200 million does not say anything at all about the legitimacy of the case
The Cyclicality Of Share Buy-Backs: Costco Edition
The company has bought back a lot of stock. The lack of a buyback in 2013 followed a purchase of a non-controlling stake in Costco Mexico.
Taking The Bull Case For Valeant Seriously
The stock has been on a tear lately - rising from $10 to $13.59 in the last week - poking above $14. To some degree this is just standard volatility for a bombed out stock.
Selling Telecom Position
If wireless telephony capacity really is unlimited and the carriers insist on price wars then the future is bleak indeed. (For shareholders, if not for consumers.)
Trex's Mysteriously High Margin: A Business Analysis Problem For You
Trex makes decking. Plastic decking. Outside many houses in middle America is timber deck often with a barbecue - or at least a grill - sitting at the end. This is a place for barbecue, socialising and - of course - beer.
A Puzzle For The Risk Manager
The last two posts were essentially about picking a value-stock portfolio and managing the risk. And they were lessons that I thought I could implement. This is stuff I find harder. So I am looking for your input.
Valeant, Salix, Sales Force And Asset Sales
Valeant put out a press release yesterday about expansion of sales force for their Salix business.
On The Freight Train - How Do You Value Adidas?
If Adidas or Puma could sell shoes at something like Nike's effective margin then the German companies would go up. A lot.
Measuring How Bad Twitter Is
My last blog post exposing Twitter's excessive costs prompted horror story emails on Twitter. But the best thing sent to me was a financial history of Facebook. The first copy came from Twitter.
Some Comment On The Twitter Buyout Rumours
In this blog post though I just run through the numbers & try to delineate what as a regular user (but an outsider) should be done. But I will cut to the chase now. This company should be and probably will be bought by an aggressive financial buyer.
Comments On Buffett's 20-Punch Card Investing Strategy
Find any investor who models themselves off Warren Buffett and look at what they do. And look at their investments against a twenty punch card test. They fail. They don't even come close.
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