As part of Real Money's continuing coverage of this week's Sohn Investment Conference in New York, we're going to take a quick look at health care, hotels and take a trip around the world. Or, more specifically, we'll take a peek at the recent holdings of Glenview Capital Management's Larry Robbins, Long Pond Capital's John Khoury and Muddy Waters Capital's Carson Block.
Robbins has been somewhat of fixture at Sohn in recent years and his disclosed picks tend to be in the health care space. Last year he recommended AbbVie (ABBV), which is down 5% over the last year, and Brookdale Senior Living (BKD), which is down 48% over the same period.
Needless to say, it's been a difficult time for his fund as it has been for so many others. In January, The Wall Street Journal reported that the fund lost 8% in the first week of the year, adding to its estimated 17% loss in 2015. Robbins has been largely quiet in recent months. In his third quarter 2015 letter, which was reported widely in the media, Robbins sounded apologetic tones saying: "I've failed to protect your capital, and mine ... despite a flat market."
Some of Robbins' other portfolio holdings as of his most recently filed 13F are: Aetna (AET), Cigna (CI), Humana (HUM) and Monsanto (MON) -- the latter two holdings were discussed in his 2014 Sohn presentation. Given the recent poor performance of his fund, we will be watching to see if Robbins comes up with any bold calls or explains some of his recent downturns.
While health care is Larry Robbins usual play, John Khoury tends to put his money in hotels and other real estate-oriented plays. Khoury is emerging on the big stage as Sohn this year after presenting at "Next Wave Sohn" in 2014. (Next Wave Sohn is a relatively new portion of the conference, which features investment ideas from Wall Street's emerging stars.)
In 2014, Khoury presented his case for American Homes 4 Rent (AMH), a Maryland-based real estate investment trust, which renovates and rents single-family homes throughout the U.S. Its shares are down 3% over the last two years. During his presentation, Khoury noted that the company boasts 95% occupancy rate, and the length of rentals is twice that of regular apartment rentals. Khoury's other long holdings include Colony Capital (CLNY), Paramount Group (PGRE) and Starwood Hotels & Resorts (HOT).
Finally, for a trip around the world, look no further than short-seller Carson Block of Muddy Waters Capital. Block has been a fixture of Sohn's London conference, which is typically held in October. His targets span the globe and Block gained acclaim for his short on Sino-Forest, a China-forestry company, which has since filed for bankruptcy protection and was charged with fraud.
Block presented his most recent short idea on Bloomberg last month. It is Stroeer, a German-based advertising company. In a post on his firm's website, Block explains the rationale behind his short, saying Stroeer is a company that has spun a great story with little substance that is "engaged in more highly questionable self-dealing than we've ever seen outside of a Chinese company."
Block explained his position more on Bloomberg by saying: "We have a lot of concerns about the accounting. The way they calculate organic growth -- we can't get the numbers to tie. We use their formula and their numbers, and it just doesn't add or come even close to adding."
We will see if Block's latest investment idea is born in the U.S. but it would be surprising. In a RealVision interview in November, Block said Europe provides fertile ground for shorting because of a lack of investor scrutiny.
The Sohn Investment Conference, which will be held in New York on May 4, 2016, brings together some of the top minds in the financial world for a day of sharing investment ideas. It is held in honor of Ira Sohn, a Wall Street professional who lost his battle with cancer when he was 29. Proceeds from the New York conference, as well as other conferences the Sohn Conference Foundations holds, are dedicated to the treatment and cure of pediatric cancer and other childhood diseases. The foundation has so far raised more than $65 million.