Gustavo Ballvé on May 25th, 2011
Home, Investment Themes, Mental models, Portfolio Management, Risk management

Our “live-blogging” efforts at Ira Sohn 2011 were hampered by poor Internet connection, but mostly by the desire to pay the necessary attention…

We will keep updating this as we hear good stuff.

Carl Icahn came to the stage just after Brazillian billionaire Eike Batista, the world’s 8th-richest man, and said:

“The guy before me is richer than me, which hurts me I guess, because I should have listened to him before. But that’s ok: some friends of mine made money with Artificial Intelligence, but I’ve made money with natural stupidity…”

David Einhorn admonished Steve Ballmer, closing his presentation with the words “his continued presence is the largest overhang in MSFT stock”. And he’s long the stock, which he presented 5 years ago right here. From then to now, he said, 4 of 5 divisions went well and the company as a whole trounced the operational performance of the S&P 500 – while the discount to the index only increased. He promised to post another idea tonight (perhaps tomorrow morning) at the Value Investors Club.

Joel Greenblatt talked about his screens for some 14 minutes and then put some 14 tickers as the “result”. We’re not complaining because the names are very interesting to us, including 5-6 health plan operators we’ve been following since 2006…

Bill Ackman kind of disappointed by not having a new activist case, but his “passive” investment in Family Dollar is actually based partly on activist work being done by Trian, who presented here earlier today (another idea). His presentation skills match his investment acumen, by the way.

Ken Langone almost brought tears to attendants’ eyes by discussing – more actually, “selling” – the joys of philanthropy. This is a man whose father was a plumber and whose mother waited tables and, through hard work an education became a billionaire. It’s nice to note that he takes sizable amounts of time and even more money to run charities and foundations, and hearing him describing how everyone can help with such enthusiasm (and at times emotion) is very impressive.

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