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Lindsell Train investors 'hope' deal frenzy pays off
Citywire AAA-rated Nick Train backs corporate takeovers by a trio of beverage businesses he holds in the Lindsell Train investment trust.
One of the best performing investment managers in Britain is betting against the conventional view that corporate acquisitions are usually damaging to the bidding company, telling investors that three drinks makers representing 27% of the Lindsell Train investment trust are buyers.
Barr, Diageo and Heineken are engaged in or have recently closed major strategic transactions, Citywire AAA-rated Nick Train notes in a half year report to the stock market: ‘Combined, these three account for 27% of your portfolio - so we better hope that the conventional wisdom about deals is wrong.’
Train has a strong track record of getting it right since co-founding the Lindsell Train trust in 2000: over three years, the fund has returned 68%, while over the six months to the end of September the trust has returned 28.4% versus a benchmark return of 1.9%.
Train, who had previously said he was ‘inclined’ to endorse the AG Barr-Britvic merger, offered his endorsement for the deals ‘despite some high prices being paid’.
‘In truth, we find ourselves applauding the acquirers,’ he wrote in the company’s half-year statement.
‘In all three cases the shares have responded well to the corporate activity, with both Diageo and Heineken up a quarter or more in calendar 2012, as investors welcome the increased exposure to Emerging Market consumers and Barr up a still very useful 15%.’
‘Perhaps our euphoria and that of other investors, will wear off and the premium price that Heineken, in particular, has paid to win Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) will come back and bite its ambitious board and shareholders.
‘But, on balance, we think the lesson is that companies are right to take the risk, because strategic opportunities of this importance come up so rarely and need to be grasped with both hands.
‘A tough tide for the global economy means that strong companies can get transactions done, transactions that would simply not be available in happier times.’
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