CBRE:  Using An Industry Deep Dive to Detect an Emerging Moat

November 17, 2016 Moats 8 Comments

“Future profitability of the industry will be determined by current competitive characteristics, not past ones. Many managers have been slow to recognize this. It’s not only generals that prefer to fight the last war. Most business and investment analysis also…

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How Are We Doing?: A Second Look at Amerco (UHAL)

September 7, 2016 Moats, Process 7 Comments

This post is the second in an occasional series where we will review our previous analysis – the good, the bad and the ugly – to discern what we are doing right and what we can improve. After the self-flagellation…

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Hibbett Sports: A Bricks-and-Mortar Winner in Retail?

August 12, 2016 Moats 2 Comments

In 1996, the Wall Street Journal wrote its first article on online competition for travel agents.  “For more than a year,” the newspaper reported, “airlines have been trying to cut their payments to travel agents, who account for 80% of…

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Following Up on Winmark

July 21, 2016 Moats 0 Comments

In last week's on Winmark (WINA), we noted that the company's free cash flow had been flat for the past five years.  But, we left the reason for this phenomena open.  Specifically, we wrote:  "Somewhat oddly, as the chart below shows,…

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Winmark & The Evolving Retail Industry

July 13, 2016 Moats 1 Comment

 “Retailing is a tough, tough business, partly because your competitors are always attempting and very frequently successfully attempting to copy anything you do that's working. And so the world keeps moving. It's hard to establish a permanent moat that your…

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MLPs: Be Cautious When The Boring Is Made Exciting

June 7, 2016 Moats 14 Comments

Companies and industries that are out of favor tend to attract our interest.  While we focus on franchise businesses with large moats and good management at a reasonable price, investing in cyclical companies has a certain appeal.  After all, it…

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The Sam Hinkie Resignation Letter

April 21, 2016 Moats 2 Comments

Sam Hinkie’s resignation letter from the Philadelphia 76ers has been generating a great deal of discussion in value investing circles.  Partially this is because he refers to no less than 11 value investing heroes over the course of the 13…

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Collectors Universe: The Poor Man’s Moody’s

April 15, 2016 Moats 21 Comments

Collector’s Universe (CLCT) is the kind of company value investors profess to love.  After all, it ticks most of the boxes on a value investor’s checklist.  It is a microcap[1] with years and years of reliable cash flow.  It has…

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A Closer Look at Live Nation’s Acquisition Strategy

March 21, 2016 Moats 3 Comments

Back in March 2015, I wrote a blog post on Live Nation Entertainment (LYV).  This is my most popular post to-date. I recently received an email from a reader who challenged LYV’s return on acquisitions.  This is a big issue…

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“Welcome to Adult Life”: American Express, Synchrony Financial & the Changing Credit Card Landscape

March 8, 2016 Moats 22 Comments

Two years ago, I investigated the moat around American Express’s (AXP) business.  I assessed the moat as wide and identified a positive feedback loop at the heart of it.  The loop ran like this: Spending on Amex cards is higher…

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