Saturday, October 21, 2006

More findings on USG

Berkshire Hathaway recently announced a $7 billion reinsurance deal with Lloyds of London. As part of the deal, Berkshire Hathaway will take over the float and daily operations of the Equitas division. The main driver of this deal is to acquire a large $8.7 billion dollar float in Equitas's reserves. Warren Buffett is betting that he can generate enough returns from this float to cover all asbestos liabilities. I mention all this because it is a good example of developing one's circle of competence, a trait that Charlie Munger, Buffett's lifelong partner in crime expounds upon. Buffett no doubt used the knowledge he acquired while researching USG to assess this deal.

I recently found an article describing the older FAIR Act, which was tabled by the Senate in early 2005. Apparently, it did not get passed by a very small margin of one vote. This is good news to me as the new FAIR Act may fair better with new updates to address issues brought up by the opposition. Still, I will not add any additional value to my intrinsic value estimate of USG because of this. I'm still looking to buy a large position at $46 and will nibble at $47. Maybe next week =).

I also wanted to note that D. E. Shaw, a highly successful and quantitative hedge fund is the second largest shareholder of USG. It's reassuring to be with such good company when exposed to some litigation risk.

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