• Follow the Leader to Profits

    By Cody Terrill - August 22, 2013 | Tickers: MMM, CFR, MKL

    What determines a successful enterprise: leadership or balance sheets? While I understand that balance sheets are important, I claim that leadership trumps every time. Here is a patriotic example; in the American Revolution, our ‘balance sheet’ of war looked weak. We were greatly outnumbered and outmatched in regards to military strength, however our leadership was strong and unwavering. The colonies rallied around leaders who desired independence and espoused the ideals more »

  • 3 Stocks That Win by Playing a Different Game

    By Ian Richards - August 1, 2013 | Tickers: MKL, TSLA, TDG

    When golfer Phil Mickelson won The Open Championship in Scotland, he seemed to be playing a different game compared with his competitors. His aggressive play, amid his rivals' more defensive strategies, helped him seal a well-deserved victory.

    In business as in golf, iconoclastic mavericks often generate returns that others can only dream of. A business that executes well may gain a small advantage, but to make exceptional returns, like Mickelson more »

  • Looking for the Next Berkshire Hathaway

    By Andrés Cardenal - July 24, 2013 | Tickers: BRK-B, BRK-A, LUK, L, MKL

    Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) has delivered truly amazing returns for investors who were smart enough to invest with Buffett and Munger for the long term. However, the company has gotten quite big, and this materially reduces the chances of outsized performance in the future.

    But other smaller companies are trying to imitate Berkshire´s success, and the hunt for the next Berkshire Hathaway, meaning a smaller company with more »

  • Redmond Asset Management’s 5 Biggest First Quarter Bets

    By Meena Krishnamsetty - May 28, 2013 | Tickers: MMM, BBSI, GE, MKL, PRAA

    Redmond Asset Management, founded by Scott Redmond, is located in Richmond, Virginia. The fund’s investment team has made a few small changes to their top five equity holdings, as noted in their first quarter 13F filing.

    See the Q1 13F here. It's important to track hedge fund sentiment because it has been found that for investors who know where to look, it has been possible to beat the more »

  • A Look at the Mini-Berkshires

    By Matthew Luke - May 21, 2013 | Tickers: LUK, MKL, PWCDF

    Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has been one of the best investing success stories of the past half-century. Under Buffett’s leadership, the textile manufacturer turned insurance company turned investment vehicle has made many people a small fortune (and a few people a very large fortune). With the success of Berkshire, it should come to no surprise that investors are always on the lookout for the next Berkshire Hathaway-like company more »

  • Is This Company the Next Berkshire?

    By Ted Cooper - April 30, 2013 | Tickers: MKL, PGR | Editor's Choice

    Warren Buffett's success with Berkshire Hathaway has inspired countless investors to emulate the insurance and private equity model. Former Buffett lieutenant David Sokol left Berkshire to build his own mini-Berkshire, while David Einhorn started his own insurance business just a few years ago.

    However, the only copycat to come anywhere close to matching Buffett's success is Tom Gayner's Markel (NYSE: MKL). Markel has compounded book value per more »

  • The Next Berkshire Hathaway

    By Ash Anderson - April 6, 2013 | Tickers: BH, LUK, MKL

    Editor's Note: This version has been amended to correctly reflect Leucadia's market capitalization. 

    I’m a Berkshire Hathaway investor, but I feel that the company has gotten so overwhelmingly large that gains are going to get harder and harder to come by. I really like the way that Berkshire is run, and while it may be impossible to find the next Buffett I think I have found three more »

  • Finding the Once and Future Berkshire Hathaway

    By Matt Swayne - March 19, 2013 | Tickers: AINV, BRK-B, BRK-A, MKL, WTM

    If there is a Holy Grail in stock investing, it’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B).  If there’s a Merlin in the investing world, it’s Warren Buffett.  If, a few decades ago, you threw some money behind Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, you would be Camelot-style rich, which is much richer than even Gangnam-style rich.  And while we may have missed the bulk of Berkshire Hathaway’s dramatic rise to more »

  • How Does Markel Deal with Low Interest Rates?

    By Charles Lamb - March 10, 2013 | Tickers: MKL, TRV

    Insurance companies have been in the news lately as Warren Buffet’s comments in his annual letter to shareholders have reminded investors of the interest rate risk bore by all insurers. Interest rates are of particular concern to insurers as the investment portfolios of insurance companies are typically weighted heavily toward fixed income securities. With insurance companies facing the challenge of replacing maturing bonds in a low interest rate environment more »

  • Finding the once and future Berkshire Hathaway

    By Matt Swayne - February 24, 2013 | Tickers: AINV, BRK-B, BRK-A, MKL, WTM

    If there is a Holy Grail in stock investing, it’s Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (NYSE: BRK-B).  If there’s a Merlin in the investing world, it’s Warren Buffett.  If, a few decades ago, you threw some money behind Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, you would be Camelot-style rich, which is much richer than even Gangnam-style rich.  And while we may have missed the bulk of Berkshire Hathaway’s dramatic rise more »

  • Akre Capital Management’s Stock Picks for 2013

    By Meena Krishnamsetty - February 14, 2013 | Tickers: AMT 131116P00072500, MKL, MA, MCO, ROST

    Charles Akre’s Akre Capital Management has filed its 13F for the fourth quarter of 2012, disclosing many of its long equity positions as of the end of December. We have been tracking 13F filings from hedge funds and other notable investors to build our database of filings, which can then be used to help find investments that are likely to beat the market based on historical trends. For example more »

  • Tom Gayner and Markel’s Top Stock Picks for 2013

    By Meena Krishnamsetty - February 14, 2013 | Tickers: BRK-B, BAM, KMX, DEO, MKL

    Markel (NYSE: MKL) is an insurance company that invests its capital in the financial markets and therefore reports many of its long equity in positions in 13F filings as hedge funds and other major investors do. We track 13F filings partly for their role in developing investment strategies; for example, the most popular small cap stocks among hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 by 18 percentage points between September more »

  • Mini-Berkshire Hathaway Acquiring a Competitor

    By Mike Thiessen - February 1, 2013 | Tickers: ALTE, BRK-B, MKL

    Markel (NYSE: MKL) entered into an agreement to acquire Alterra Capital Holdings (NASDAQ: ALTE) on December 19, 2012 for what works out to about $30 per share, around a 34% premium to the share price prior to the announcement and 1.07x tangible book value.  Each Alterra Capital Holdings share will get converted to 0.04315 shares of Markel plus a cash payment of $10.  The Boards of both companies more »

  • Insiders Are Crazy About These 5 Stocks

    By Meena Krishnamsetty - January 31, 2013 | Tickers: AXAS, DNR, MKL, OMER, GEVA

    Studies show that stocks bought by insiders tend to beat the market, though the effect is generally very small. The best results come from consensus insider purchases. According to academic studies stocks bought by multiple insiders outperformed the market by 7 percentage points per year on the average over a 25 year period (learn more about studies on consensus insider purchases). We think that these results are the way they more »

  • 2 Stocks for a Lifetime

    By Kyle Campbell - January 28, 2013 | Tickers: ALTE, BRK-B, BRK-A, IBM, MKL

    Note: This post contained incorrect information about IBM's net income growth. It has been corrected.

    Investing can seem like a daunting task, but it does not have to be that way. Rather than trying to put your eggs in too many baskets, why not just pick a basket or two with characteristics similar to the vaults of Fort Knox? In reducing the number of baskets to watch, you get more »

  • Insiders Are Crazy About This Stock

    By Meena Krishnamsetty - January 4, 2013 | Tickers: ALTE, CNA, MKL, MIG, TRV

    Our database of insider trading activity shows some recent purchases at insurance company Markel (NYSE: MKL). Three insiders bought between 100 and 200 shares- even that is a moderately large insider buy, given the stock price in the $430 range- and a Board member bought 1,000 shares at an average price of $428.99 per share. Studies show that on average stocks bought by insiders tend to outperform the more »

  • This Stragetic Deal Could Enhance the Value of Mini-Berkshire

    By Anh HOANG - January 3, 2013 | Tickers: ALTE, CNA, MKL

    Recently, Markel Corporation (NYSE: MKL), which has long been considered the mini-Berkshire Hathaway, announced a big acquisition. Markel said that it would acquire Alterra Capital Holdings (NASDAQ: ALTE) for around $3.13 billion. Markel would pay Alterra’s investors $10 per share in cash and 0.4315 Markel’s shares per Alterra’s shares. The price tag of $3.13 billion would value Alterra at around $31 per share. After more »

  • Charles Akre’s Top Stock Picks

    By Meena Krishnamsetty - January 2, 2013 | Tickers: AMT 131116P00072500, MKL, MA, MCO, ROST

    Chuck Akre has been managing money through one vehicle or another since 1989. For some time Akre operated the FBR Focus fund before relaunching as the Akre Focus fund in 2009. Oddly, the fund is based not in New York or Greenwich or Chicago but in Middleburg, Virginia- a town with a population of 632 in the 2000 Census.

    Akre’s investment philosophy centers on finding companies with high returns more »

  • Markel Bags a Whale: Is Now the Time to Buy?

    By Steve Symington - December 19, 2012 | Tickers: ALTE, BRK-B, BRK-A, MKL | Editor's Choice

    With echoes of Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE: BRK-A)(NYSE: BRK-B) 2009 Burlington Northern deal, Markel (NYSE: MKL) this morning announced its largest acquisition to date with a $3 billion cash and stock agreement to buy rival Alterra Capital Holdings (NASDAQ: ALTE).  

    The offer, which converts each common share of Alterra into a right to receive 0.04315 shares of Markel and a cash payment of $10, valued ALTE at $31 more »

  • So, You Didn’t Buy the Insurance?

    By Matthew DiLallo - December 11, 2012 | Tickers: AIG, BRK-B, BRK-A, MKL, TRV

    We planned this trip for well over a year and made sure we were more than ready.  Passports were in place, money was exchanged, and our bags were packed.  Even the care of our cat had been dutifully arranged.  We’d remembered everything and we were ready for our adventure. Well, at least we thought so.

    I recall being on the phone with our travel agent as we were on more »

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