Whitney Tilson: Tesla Reminds Me OF Valeant

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Whitney Tilson: Tesla Reminds Me OF Valeant

From Whitney Tilson’s latest email to colleagues

1) Glenn and I will be doing a lot of teaching the next few weeks, starting with two free 2-hour seminars at the IESE Business School (165 West 57th St.) in NYC this coming Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 12-13, from 5:30-7:30pm followed by cocktails (they will also be livestreamed – details below):

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  • An Introduction to Value Investing (Sept. 12)

This will be a two-hour overview of value investing and will address various topics including: what is value investing, intrinsic value, margin of safety, three ways to beat the market, the three steps to evaluating stocks, valuation techniques, traits of successful investors, how to develop an edge, and an example of a stock pitch of a current favorite idea.

  • Understanding Financial Statements (Sept. 13)

Using the actual financial statements of well-known companies like Costco, we will go through the income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement, defining and explaining the major line items such as revenue, COGS, SG&A, net income, share count, inventories, account receivable, accounts payable, assets, liabilities, debt, equity and capital expenditures. Then we will show how to do basic analyses of the financial statements, calculating growth rates, margins, EBIT, EBITDA, current and quick ratios, debt to equity ratio, return on equity and free cash flow. Finally, we will show how the financial statements tell a story about a company, how a company is raising and allocating capital, and potential warning flags.

There will be plenty of time for Q&A during each seminar as well as the cocktail hours afterward.

We’re already over capacity, but have left the registration open because we assume there will be a few no-shows, so if you want to join us in person, register now: www.eventbrite.com/e/new-york-city-kase-learnings-free-seminars-registration-47726400950

We will also be livestreaming them and making the recordings available after – just register here:

  • An Introduction to Value Investing: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_voAVkVSDQsipsYozEu4-yA
  • Understanding Financial Statements: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_a02Kb-9hS2-kzqjcs1KIrA

2) Our live webinars on How to Launch and Build an Investment Fund and an Advanced Seminar on Short Selling start this Friday (Sept. 14) and continue through next week. Each consists of three 2½-hour sessions from 7:00-9:30am EST each morning, and can be taken by anyone, anywhere in the world.

3) For those who want the in-person learning experience, we’ll be teaching all three of our programs over five full days in NYC the week of Sept. 24-28, starting with our Lessons from the Trenches value investing bootcamp on Monday through Wednesday, followed by the two one-day seminars.

Further information about our webinars and seminars, including agendas for each program, is posted at www.tilsonfunds.com/KaseLearning.pdf.

I would be grateful if you would pass this along to any friends you think might be interested. For any of our paid programs, we’re happy to offer a 20% discount to anyone you refer. In addition, we typically fill our last few seats at a steep discount for students and young/emerging investors, so if anyone you know is available on short notice, please have them email me and we’ll try to accommodate them.

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Thank you!

4) I was pleased to see that both Kase Learning and Value Investor Insight made the Forbes list of the Top 17 Value Investing Blogs You Should Be Reading, which has some other great recommendations as well: www.forbes.com/sites/alapshah/2018/08/22/top-17-value-investing-blogs-you-should-be-reading. Excerpt:

  1. KASE Learning

Whitney Tilson is one of the most public longstanding value investors. Rooted in sharing their half century of experience as value investors and fund managers, Tilson and his long-time partner, Glenn Tongue have produced a multitude of resources on this site.

  1. Value Investor Insight

Whitney Tilson also co-founded this monthly newsletter in 2004, in which he and editor in chief John Heins interview two portfolio managers about current topics.

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5) I haven’t had any position in Tesla since I was dumb enough to be short it in 2013, but I still follow it closely. It's so wildly entertaining and, yes, educational – seriously! There are countless lessons savvy investors can learn about bold entrepreneurship, forensic accounting, scuttlebutt research, the risks of short selling, the importance of portfolio/risk management, how to communicate with investors (by both the company and the funds betting against it), and so much more.

Tesla like investing catnip – I can’t get enough of it! It reminds me of Valeant, especially the tug-of-war between the company and its defenders vs. the rabid short sellers (who, I suspect, like Valeant, will have the last laugh). Here’s the latest, in case you missed it:

  • Musk’s 2 hour, 37 minute interview with Joe Rogan (https://youtu.be/ycPr5-27vSI), which went viral (8.7 million views) mainly because they both smoked weed (see CBS News story on it here: https://youtu.be/2lWL6YDITVQ), but I found the entire interview fascinating and Musk to be quite brilliant and likeable (hint: to save time, listen to it at 1.5-2x speed).
  • I don’t give a hoot that Musk took one puff of Rogan’s joint – but Musk should have thought of this: Elon Musk's Pot-Smoking Podcast Appearance Could Open an Air Force Investigation into SpaceX (http://fortune.com/2018/09/10/musk-weed-marijuana-air-force-spacex). But he doesn't really give a #*@* – what a honey badger he is!
  • In the interview, Musk mentioned a secret bit of software in the Model X that will make the car “dance” – here’s a video of it: https://youtu.be/tz1XzESIJVA
  • Anton Wahlman, one of my favorite Tesla analysts/writers, just posted these two columns: Tesla’s Model 3 Yard Sale (https://seekingalpha.com/instablog/200447-anton-wahlman/5210443-tesla-s-model-3-yard-sale) and Is Tesla’s Audit Committee Chair About To Resign? (https://seekingalpha.com/instablog/200447-anton-wahlman/5210846-tesla-s-audit-committee-chair-resign)

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Jacob Wolinsky is the founder of ValueWalk.com, a popular value investing and hedge fund focused investment website. Jacob worked as an equity analyst first at a micro-cap focused private equity firm, followed by a stint at a smid cap focused research shop. Jacob lives with his wife and four kids in Passaic NJ. - Email: jacob(at)valuewalk.com - Twitter username: JacobWolinsky - Full Disclosure: I do not purchase any equities anymore to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest and because at times I may receive grey areas of insider information. I have a few existing holdings from years ago, but I have sold off most of the equities and now only purchase mutual funds and some ETFs. I also own a few grams of Gold and Silver

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