Monthly Archives: January 2021

Lessons From Warren Buffett: There’s No Set Formula for Knowing Whether the Market, or a Company, is Undervalued or Overvalued

Warren Buffett places a strong emphasis on a company’s intrinsic value in determining whether the company should be purchased in whole or in part. Whether a company is undervalued or overvalued is at the heart of knowing whether it is a good investment. The same applies to the stock market as a whole.

So, is there a straightforward formula that you can use to determine valuation? Not according to Warren Buffett.

“It’s not reducible to any formula where you can actually put in the variables perfectly,” Warren Buffett explained at the 2017 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “It’s just not quite as simple as having one or two formulas and, then, saying the market is undervalued or overvalued, or a company is undervalued or overvalued.”

As he noted, you can have a formula, but the hard part is knowing what variables to put in.

Warren Buffett’s full explanation on determining valuation

See the complete Lessons From Warren Buffett series

© 2020 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkadia Acquires Moran & Company

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkadia, Berkshire Hathaway’s joint venture with Jefferies Financial Group, has acquired the apartment brokerage practice of Moran & Company, expanding Berkadia’s core capabilities to include an enhanced focus on institutional investment sales.

The partnership will launch Berkadia Institutional Solutions, powered by Moran, a platform dedicated to serving institutional investors nationally through Berkadia’s robust suite of services and resources combined with Moran’s strong institutional investor relationships, built on trust, client service and collaboration.

“This is a tremendous day not just for the Berkadia and Moran teams, but most importantly for our clients—the primary focus in everything we do,” said Berkadia CEO Justin Wheeler. “We remain optimistic about the future of multifamily and are committed to building the most robust CRE platform in the country, powered by the best talent in our industry. There’s no team more experienced or respected in the institutional sales space than Moran.

Together, we will transform apartment institutional investment sales nationally, offering our clients industry leading advice, resources and support to create new opportunities and better outcomes for long-term success.”

Moran Co-Chairman Mary Ann King will be joining Berkadia as Co-Head of Investment Sales and Head of Berkadia Institutional Solutions, powered by Moran, working together with Keith Misner, SVP and now Co-Head of Investments Sales, to lead the integration of the entire 31-member Moran team, including 15 dedicated institutional sales advisors, into Berkadia.

The commercial real estate industry has witnessed record-breaking private real estate equity fundraising in the past few years, with $83 billion raised in 2019 and $23 billion through June 2020 according to Preqin. The sector continues to gain favor with investors as it provides an opportunity to hedge risk and enhance portfolio diversification. Multifamily real estate in particular has demonstrated impressive resilience, coupled with long-term income growth and liquidity characteristics, generating attractive risk-adjusted returns over the past 25 years according to the NCREIF Property Index (NPI).

Moran’s 25-year legacy in multifamily investment sales, with a specialized focus on institutional investors, will complement Berkadia’s existing investment sales, mortgage banking and servicing platforms, delivering greater access to fully integrated commercial real estate solutions.

“At Moran, we’re incredibly proud of our legacy, but always thinking ahead to how we can better anticipate—and answer—our clients’ long-term needs. In joining Berkadia, we’re doing just that,” said Thomas F. Moran, Founder and Co-Chairman of Moran & Company. “Like us, Berkadia is privately-owned and shares our client-centric and collaborative mindset, our focus on people, and our commitment to integrity and excellence.”

“Moran’s team culture and client-focused approach has enabled us to build one of the best apartment institutional sales platforms in the business,” said King. “Now, as Berkadia Institutional Solutions, powered by Moran, we’ll truly be a fully integrated platform with a national presence for our clients, providing them with actionable insights, industry expertise and technology, supported by a full suite of capital markets resources, to maximize their long-term success. We’re energized and excited to move forward together at Berkadia and execute our shared vision for the future.”

In the past two years, Berkadia has executed several other strategic acquisitions aimed at broadening the firm’s depth of expertise and enhancing the firm’s comprehensive offerings, including the:

• Acquisition of Central Park Capital Partners, which launched Berkadia’s Joint Venture Equity & Structured Capital Group;

• Addition of a tax credit syndication and advisory platform with the integration of Riverside Capital into Berkadia Affordable; and

• Acquisition of LIHTC Advisors, a brokerage firm dedicated to providing full-service solutions for apartment investors and focusing on Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and other affordable housing properties.

Additionally, the organization has attracted elite talent across the country, including New York City, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Seattle, Indianapolis, Denver, St. Louis, Southern California, Orlando, Richmond and Birmingham, and within specialty categories, such as Affordable Housing, Hotels & Hospitality, HUD and Student Housing.

Berkshire and Berkadia

Founded in 2009 as a 50/50 joint venture between Berkshire Hathaway and Leucadia National Corporation (now known as Jefferies Financial Group), Berkadia is a third-party commercial mortgage servicer, as well as an approved lender for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD/FHA.

The company is among the top Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae multifamily lenders.

Berkadia owes its origins to GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corporation, which was acquired in 2009 by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Five Mile Capital Partners LLC, and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners. Christened Capmark Financial, the company had $10 billion of originations in 2008 and a servicing portfolio of more than $360 billion before running into bankruptcy in October 2009.

In a deal approved by the bankruptcy court, Capmark sold its mortgage loan and servicing to the newly formed Berkadia in a deal worth $515 million.

The deal brought Berkshire into the heart of the commercial loan serving business, and the company has one of the largest commercial real estate servicing portfolios.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Intero Appoints New President

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s Intero has announced that Joe Brown has been promoted to President from his previous role of COO, a position he held for the last two and a half years.

Scott Chase has been promoted to COO and will combine this with his leadership role at Intero’s Los Altos office.

John Thompson, Intero’s prior President, has returned to his former role as Chief Culture Officer.

Joe Brown joined Intero in October of 2015 after a successful stint at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, where he held numerous management positions, including President and COO of Bay Area operations. During his more five years with Intero, Joe has solidified himself as a key executive and has been instrumental to the company’s continued success. In addition to his role as President, he will continue to manage the Willow Glen office, one of the top real estate offices in the nation. In his new role as President, he will report directly to CEO Brian Crane, and will oversee recruiting and retention; culture, and staff coaching for the company’s 22 corporate offices.

Scott Chase came on board with Intero in November of 2018, bringing more than 15 years of experience after a successful stint as regional sales manager at Opes Advisors. Scott has a business philosophy that centers on planning and continuous improvement in skills, systems and teams to take care of our customer’s concerns around real estate. In addition to his role as COO, he will continue to manage the Los Altos office, one of the highest producing offices in the United States. In his new role as COO, he will report directly to CEO Brian Crane and will drive strategic growth, partnerships and expansion of the Intero brand throughout Northern California.

John Thompson, a founder of Intero, has been the glue that has helped keep the culture of the company together for the last 18 years. John will use his experience, talent, and sense of humor as he revises his role of Chief Culture Officer. In this position, John will support agent engagement, company culture and manage special projects.

“In our 18 years as a premier real estate services company, we have never sat on the sidelines and waited for change to happen,” said Brian Crane, Intero’s Chief Executive Officer. “We know that our leadership is one of the keys to our success and having the right people in the right positions is critical to helping us reach our goals. I could not be prouder to have Joe, Scott and JT in these new roles and know they will help the Intero brand continue to grow in 2021 and beyond.”

Intero, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., is a real estate services company with its headquarters in Cupertino, CA, the heart of the Silicon Valley. In addition to their 18-office corporate footprint, they have a franchise network that is comprised of more than 50 affiliates located in Alabama, California, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

BYD to Design and Assemble eBus Chassis in the UK, Expanding ADL Partnership

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

BYD UK and Alexander Dennis Limited have announced that they will commence the design and assembly of chassis for the BYD ADL partnership’s electric single and double deck buses for the British market, ensuring completed vehicles are built in the UK.

Electric bus chassis assembly will take place in ADL’s facilities with on-the-ground support from the BYD team, and is planned to commence in the second half of 2021.

Until now, chassis for the BYD ADL Enviro200EV single deck and BYD ADL Enviro400EV double deck buses were fully built by BYD before being delivered to ADL’s facilities in the UK to have their bodywork fitted.

Since it began in 2015, the partnership has over 500 electric buses delivered or on order. They have clocked up a combined over 16 million emission-free miles of reliable service in London as well as numerous towns and cities across the UK.

More than 70% of electric buses introduced in Britain in this period were supplied by the BYD ADL partnership.

Frank Thorpe, Managing Director of BYD UK, said: “This news underpins the fantastic relationship we have with ADL in the UK. We have always worked closely to deliver the highest quality products and services, and we are confident that production of complete vehicles here in the UK will bring even greater efficiencies for our customers. More importantly,” he said, “this commitment from both BYD and ADL is also a reflection of the acceptance of eMobility from Local Authorities, bus operators and their passengers. Electrification in our towns and cities is gathering pace, and the BYD ADL partnership is spearheading the drive towards a more sustainable future.”

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million has grown in value over thirty-fold.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Mouser Electronics Adds 74 Manufacturers

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s Mouser Electronics, Inc., a leading New Product Introduction (NPI) distributor with the widest selection of semiconductors and electronic components, added a record number of new manufacturers — 74 — to its industry-leading line card during 2020, giving its customers even more product choices.

“With this record number of new manufacturers added in 2020, we reinforce our commitment to offering our customers the most comprehensive lineup of leading technologies across all product categories,” said Jeff Newell, Mouser Electronics’ Senior Vice President of Products.

As an authorized distributor, Mouser specializes in the rapid introduction of new products and technologies, giving its customers an edge and helping speed their time to market.

During 2020, as many companies faced supply chain challenges brought on by the pandemic, more semiconductor and electronic component manufacturers counted on Mouser to successfully help them introduce their products into the global marketplace. Mouser’s customers can expect 100% certified, genuine products that are fully traceable from each manufacturer.

With 20 new embedded manufacturers among the additions, Mouser continues to strengthen its focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Lessons From Warren Buffett: Investing Doesn’t Need to Be Complicated, but It Needs This Essential Element

You don’t have to be a genius to be an investor, is something that Warren Buffett has said many times. However, there are things that he thinks are core qualities of successful investors.

So, what is it that Warren Buffett thinks is essential? Discipline.

“What we do is not a complicated business.” Buffett explained at the 2018 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “It’s got to be a disciplined business, but it doesn’t require a super IQ, or anything of that sort.”

Buffett’s full explanation on being a disciplined investor

See the complete Lessons From Warren Buffett series

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway-Backed BYD Jumps to Another All-Time High

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Shares of Berkshire Hathaway-backed Chinese battery and vehicle manufacturer BYD Co., Ltd. jumped 6.49% on Thursday to a new all-time high.

BYD’s stock (BYDDF), which had been as low as $4.35 on March 23, closed at $31.00 on Thursday.

The stock is up over 625% over 12 months.

A Profitable EV Company

The company has reported strong sales of its vehicles, including the Han luxury car, which debuted in July. The Han is outselling its rivals from both Nio and Xpeng Motors.

BYD’s Han EV’s long-range pure electric version has a single-charge range of 605 kilometers (376 miles) based on the NEDC test cycle.

In other news, BYD announced in December that it received a large order to deliver another 406 of its pure electric buses for the Colombian capital of Bogota.

The order was just weeks after it completed the delivery of 470 pure electric buses to the city.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million has grown in value over thirty-fold.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

BNSF Puts Battery-Electric Locomotives Into Service

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

BNSF Railway and Wabtec’s development of potential of battery-electric locomotives has reached another significant milestone this week as they begin testing the technology in revenue service between Barstow and Stockton, California.

As BNSF seeks ways to further reduce its environmental impact, the advancement of battery technology offers some possible solutions.

“We’ve got everything in place and we’re ready to see how this next-generation locomotive performs in revenue service,” said John Lovenburg, BNSF vice president, Environmental. “BNSF is focused on continuing to reduce our environmental impact, and we’re committed to doing our part to test and assess the commercial viability of emerging technologies that reduce emissions.”

The pilot test will run from January until the end of March. If the initial pilot proves successful, BNSF will look to expand testing to other locations and operating conditions on its system.

The battery-powered locomotive will be situated in a consist between two Tier 4 locomotives, creating a battery-electric hybrid consist. When running on the mainline, both the battery-electric and diesel locomotives will power the train. The battery-electric locomotive is expected to reduce the environmental impact from emissions along the route in an efficient manner, while improving the fuel economy for the entire consist by at least 10 percent.

This initiative builds on BNSF’s existing investments in sustainable technologies including idle control, electric wide-span cranes, battery-electric hostlers, automated gates at its intermodal facilities, and Tier 4 locomotives. BNSF partnered with Wabtec on the development of the battery-electric locomotive, which features an overall energy-management system, including onboard energy storage that, when coupled with advanced system-optimization controls, will improve consist and train performance.

“The FLXdrive is the world’s first 100-percent, heavy-haul battery-electric locomotive that optimizes the total energy utilization of the entire locomotive consist,” said Alan Hamilton, Wabtec vice president, Engineering. “This technology works in a manner very similar to how electric vehicles use regenerative braking. It’s a significant step forward for the rail industry and will change the course for even cleaner, more energy-efficient transport.”

The battery-electric locomotive pilot program is part of a $22.6 million grant awarded to BNSF and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District from the Zero- and Near Zero-Emission Freight Facilities (ZANZEFF) project by the California Air Resource Board to pilot several emissions-reducing technologies in and around railyards. The ZANZEFF project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.

© 2020 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway’s Grandscape Adds Immersive Entertainment Concept

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Electric Gamebox, a British entertainment concept centered on interactive gaming, has opened a 4,000-square-foot venue at Berkshire Hathaway’s Grandscape, the 433-acre mixed-use destination in the northern Dallas suburb of The Colony.

The venue is Electric Gamebox’s first in the United States.

Founded by Will Dean, the man behind Tough Mudder, and David Spindler, who conceived and launched the Tough Mudder Bootcamp franchise, Electric Gamebox is founded on the belief that technology should bring people together versus driving them apart.

Berkshire Hathaway’s Nebraska Furniture Mart is leading the development of the retail components of Grandscape. The furniture, appliances and home furnishings retailer opened in 2015, and anchors the development with 560,000 square feet of showroom space divided between two floors and covering 100 acres in total.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Lessons From Warren Buffett: If You Want to Be a Good Investor, Try Running a Lousy Business for a While

There is no one that wants to have a lousy business, but as Warren Buffett points out, you certainly learn a lot of lessons from it. Among the things you learn are “how awful it is, and how little you can do about it, and how IQ does not solve the problem. . . ”

As Buffett noted: “I really think if you want to be a good evaluator of businesses, an investor, you really ought to figure out a way, without too much personal damage, to run a lousy business for a while,” Buffett explained at the 2017 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “I think you learn a whole lot more about business by actually struggling with a terrible business for a couple of years than you learn by getting into a very good one where the business itself is so good that you can’t mess it up.”

Buffett’s full explanation about learning from running a lousy business

See the complete Lessons From Warren Buffett series

© 2020 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.