We recently came across the fourth quarter 2009 investor letter from David Carr Jr's Oak Value Fund and thought our readers would enjoy it. After all, we like to track investment managers that employ fundamental research processes with a long-term time horizon. Oak Value certainly fits the bill, so let's see what it was up to in the fourth quarter of last year.
The fund made a few additions to its portfolio as it bought shares of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI), Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU), and XTO Energy (XTO). Oak Value added shares of ATVI because it believes this company is the industry leader in the subscriber-based revenue model of gaming. Oak Value was fond of Intuit because of its large consumer base, high operating profit margins, high returns on capital and significant free cash flow. Lastly, it purchased shares of XTO under the belief that natural gas is a viable energy alternative. Right after Oak Value's investment into XTO, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) came in with an offer to purchase the company.
Sales in the fund's portfolio from the fourth quarter include Cadbury (CBY) and Syngenta (NYSE:SYT). Oak Value's sale of Cadbury is notable because it appears the fund exited the position too soon as a potential deal has finally been struck between Cadbury and Kraft Foods. We've seen many hedge funds play both sides of this event-driven scenario as Bill Ackman's Pershing Square owns a lot of Kraft, as does legendary investor Warren Buffett. On the other side, we saw John Paulson's hedge fund Paulson & Co with a large Cadbury stake.
Oak Value sold its shares of Syngenta due to a decreased margin of safety as well as the fact that it saw more opportunistic areas to deploy its capital.
Here are Oak Value Fund's Top Ten Holdings as of December 31st, 2009:
- Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A): 6.75%
- Avon Products (NYSE:AVP): 5.5%
- Coach (NYSE:COH): 5.47%
- American Express (NYSE:AXP): 5.06%
- Oracle (NYSE:ORCL): 4.85%
- Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO): 4.57%
- Praxair (NYSE:PX): 4.56%
- Republic Services (NYSE:RSG): 4.54%
- Diageo (NYSE:DEO): 4.31%
- 3M (NYSE:MMM): 4.1%
Interestingly enough, one of its top 10 holdings is also on the list of most popular stocks held by hedge funds. Here is Oak Value Fund's fourth quarter 2009 letter to investors:
You can also download the .pdf of the letter here.
For background on Oak Value Fund, here's what you need to know: Taken from its website, the fund
approach[es] investing with the philosophy, supported by a long historical background, that current market price is not always an accurate reflection of the true worth of a business. Our essential investing premise is that we can be successful over time by buying high quality companies with solid competitive advantages, run by capable, fair-minded management teams, purchased at sizable discounts from their intrinsic values.