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  • The Sole Apple-Beater: Samsung Electronics [View article]
    Forbes' list is quite different: Apple #1, Samsung #9.
    Apr 2 08:29 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Some Math On ACAS' Capital Returns [View article]
    What to make of the 2013 full-year results is another article.
    The story we've been given thus far is that ACAS is avoiding RIC treatment so long as it's got tax assets to consume that would prevent double-taxation. I haven't tried to dig into the subtext of those comments yet to divine some deeper meaning, but I think this hasn't been a dividend stock but a NAV play since the dividend was suspended in '08, and certainly since the stock dividend in '09.
    I'm not holding my breath for a dividend. People who want a dividend from this management team can look to ACAS' new BDC ACSF for that :-)
    Feb 13 11:19 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Some Math On ACAS' Capital Returns [View article]
    Actually, the tax asset's consumption won't affect NAV because ACAS uses an accrual accounting system in which the taxes not paid are being offset by the wasting of the tax asset. The impact of the tax asset was really felt in the quarter in which it was recognized as an asset – at which time it was a big positive bump. Now, as it's consumed, it has no NAV effect – though of course it has an effect on cash flow.
    Jan 31 08:19 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Some Math On ACAS' Capital Returns [View article]
    I think the question is, why shouldn't ACAS recover with the economy to buoy the performance of its portfolio companies? The press releases on ACAS and ECAS transactions show ACAS is able to find good buyers for portfolio companies.
    Jan 24 08:37 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Some Math On ACAS' Capital Returns [View article]
    I was puzzled by YCharts' graph, because each quarter as I look at it in the 10Ks shows declining share counts. I'll have to have a closer look at this in a future article. My impression was that most employees' compensation options were priced north of current share price, which is worth looking into to assess the risk.
    Jan 23 01:02 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Some Math On ACAS' Capital Returns [View article]
    Since I had one lot put to me at $50, I feel your pain. My only consolation is more than doubling my share count at $1.80, before the stock dividend issued the year following the crash.

    ACAS' ability to plow cash into share retirement without mandatory distribution, while it's chewing down a tax loss carryforward, is a benefit even in tax-deferred accounts – but of course the benefit compared to dividends is higher in the non-tax-deferred account.

    Dividend stocks in an IRA are nice. Pity there's a cap how much you can put in ....
    Jan 23 12:59 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Odyssey Marine Exploration: Watching The Detective [View article]
    UNESCO isn't a law, it's the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The law you're interested in is whatever local law may have been enacted by a signatory of the Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage. Under the CPUCH, anything that's been submerged or periodically submerged for 100 years is supposed to be given special treatment by member states. Unfortunately, the special treatment demanded by CPUCH is full of terms that weren't carefully selected by lawyers to make compliance easy to ascertain, but was instead selected by persons whose political view of archaeology is that it is properly conducted by the government or by nonprofit universities.

    I've given it an article on my blog, here:

    Having seen CPUCH invoked as a barrier to private archaeology even in non-signatory jurisdictions, I have great doubt that jurisdictions that actually adopted it will happily agree to permit salvage of archaeological sites that CPUCH presumes by law are better left in place ("in situ" preservation, in the language of CPUCH).
    Jan 21 08:44 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Odyssey Marine's Smoking Gun: SS Gairsoppa Contract Facts From A U.K. Government FOI [View article]
    If you'd like to see some articles on OMEX from an author whose articles aren't primarily on OMEX, you might try
    The prices at the times of those articles may provide some perspective on them.
    Jan 21 08:19 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Odyssey Marine's Smoking Gun: SS Gairsoppa Contract Facts From A U.K. Government FOI [View article]
    I think the concern here is that "expenses of custody ... and ... disposal" are suspected to be much narrower than the research, exploration, on-site salvage, and other costs that necessarily precede custody or disposal.

    To the extent investors believe exploration and recovery costs are reimbursed, rather than being a fully-borne expense, the article does important work in illuminating the concern.
    Jan 21 08:11 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • New Rule: Buy American Capital Below $13.33 [View article]
    tgxman --
    Maniacs shouldn't threaten you for wanting to take money off the table.

    I think the reason stocks like AAPL blow up into accusations of heresy, etc., is fundamental differences in view on things like how the tech market works, what "good" means and the relationship between quality products and quality companies, the morality of various kinds of software licenses, and the evil of certain established vendors competing in the same space. People get very bent out of shape over things close to their hearts, and I know lots of folks have very strong feelings about these things. They are in many ways proxies for people's personal politics. Should monopolies be tolerated? Is it fair to offshore manufacture? Which government(s) are entitled to tax a particular dollar of profit? It blows up beyond one business and encompasses broad policies and politics. Ka-boom.

    How to value ACAS, BRK.B, etc. are hopefully less emotionally gripping, and safer to discuss. Though I did get a cutting remark for comparing ACAS and BRK.B (both of which have value because of the companies they own). The risk-aversion that makes people pick BRK.B can drive some people to look down their noses at lesser names. Sigh.

    As for $100, I don't see that in the near term. But as they say: from your lips to God's ear.

    Best wishes.
    Sep 14 02:27 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Understanding American Capital After 2Q2013 [View article]
    If you have a look at the internal complexity of Berkshire and how it must be analyzed to be valued, e.g. here , you'll see more similarity than you might imagine. Both companies' headline-number reporting leaves investors a lot to desire in understanding the overall businesses.

    Personally, I'm very happy to own both and am glad of the differences they do have. Berkshire's success obtaining zero-cost leverage with things like float (in which Berkshire is paid to hold other people's money) and unrealized capital gains (which generates a "liability" for taxes owed, which may not be due for a century) tickle me as an investor, and make me happy to see ACAS succeeding in reducing its own cost of borrowing:;highlight=

    Given the internal complexity that clouds its valuation, ACAS like Berkshire occasionally offer real opportunity as people get lost in price charts and lose sight of the underlying business. Both companies benefit from a good long look at the underlying business.
    Sep 10 09:17 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • New Rule: Buy American Capital Below $13.33 [View article]
    When it had a dividend it was a good income stock, and in the comments to my articles I usually find people who want the dividend back, and quickly. I'd rather see share retirement myself, provided it can be done without introducing multi-tier taxation – at the moment, ACAS has loss carry-forwards that offset taxes it'd pay on income that it would have to pay as dividends were it qualified as a RIC, and that would give rise to tax obligations in the absence of the carry-forward.

    I'd rather be patient.
    Sep 10 09:10 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • New Rule: Buy American Capital Below $13.33 [View article]
    As described at , ACAS' biggest holding is now its asset manager, and its biggest source of income as an asset manager comes from two publicly-traded mREITs. With mREITs hammered by interest-rate shock, ACAS was affected by macro factors that one must judge for one's self as long-term issues for ACAS.

    The key is that (a) ACAS could buy shares much cheaper during this shock, (b) ACAS now has higher concentration of assets behind each ACAS share, and (c) a recovery in the underlying assets will be magnified by this concentration. And ACAS is sitting on a long trend of NAV increases.

    So yeah, it wasn't a great quarter for the fair value of ACAS' funds-management business, but does this compel any particular decision about management generally or the long term of ACAS' overall business? I think this is the question. I think it's fair to weigh, and you've clearly decided how you weigh it, at least for now.

    I don't happen to weigh it the same just now, but the important thing is that people weigh these decisions with good information. Headlines don't do a good job of explaining the real story, and quite a lot of the press on companies with complex interior workings like ACAS and BRK.B are distracted by headline numbers (for a while Berkshire was thought to be doing "well" or "badly" because of fluctuations in the value of near-term-un-exerciseable long-term derivative contracts whose valuation swings drove "earnings" more dramatically for good or ill than the broad trends that illustrated the quality of the company's long-term portfolio performance) instead of bringing clarity to the firm's condition, opportunities, and risks.

    But that's why SA is important.

    Thanks for stopping by.
    Sep 10 09:07 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • New Rule: Buy American Capital Below $13.33 [View article]
    Viewed the light that ACAS' largest holding was hammered by the issues impacting mREITs in the reported quarter, ACAS' NAV performance seemed heroic.

    "who knows if p rice and NAV shall ever meet?"

    Here, history is a guide. When ACAS paid a dividend, it spent a lot of time trading at a premium to NAV. As soon as the dividend was halted, its traditional investors bolted. A BDC without a dividend is a weird bird.

    Once a dividend resumes – BDCs that qualify as RICs pay based on taxable income not SEC-reported "earnings" – the price will be driven by the dividend. As long as shares trade at a substantial discount to NAV, there's no reason management should want to pay a dividend as management's personal shares are worth more (and without immediate tax impact) when they deploy spare cash in buybacks. toward that end, ACAS can simply continue intentionally failing the RIC test.

    I make a similar NAV-driven investment thesis in my own articles on ACAS, both recently and historically

    Best regards.
    Sep 8 05:21 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Understanding American Capital After 2Q2013 [View article]
    I own both, and I'm glad they're different.

    I'm glad BRK.B has its solidity, but I'm very glad ACAS has been so awfully undervalued or it'd have BRK.B's problem and seldom be able to retire shares at reasonable prices.

    Look at the graphs of both since the crash. BRK.B has about doubled – it was oversold, and has done fine – but look how loony the negativity was for ACAS. Do we think it likelier that the company's REAL value is up 20x, or that the panic that pushed it into the realm of the ridiculous has simply abated as the company has continued to pay its debts on time, grow NAV, demonstrate its ability to convince skeptical lenders in arms-length transactions that its solvency supports refinance of its debt on increasingly favorable terms, and so on?

    ACAS will be a while proving itself – a point your comment clearly illustrates. And thank goodness. It will improve the effectiveness to shareholders of the buyback program.
    Sep 2 01:33 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment