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Fun With Acquisitions for the Value Investor

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Part of value investing involves buying companies that few others are interested in at a given time; companies that may have run through a rough patch whose true worth is underestimated. Sometimes these situations come to an end via a takeover, which, as a shareholder, you might be hoping for, at least if the price is right. Sometimes the takeout prices are not quite what you'd been expecting.

In the past year and a half, I've owned a few smaller names that were acquired, or are in the process. In all three cases, while the positions were profitable, the takeout prices were (or are) somewhat disappointing. Last March, Sumitomo's tire supply unit TBC Corp. acquired real estate- rich auto repair chain Midas for $11.50 per share, which represented a 27% premium to the previous closing price.

I'd hoped for more, and believe that the acquirer got a great deal here. While Midas had been struggling, in the right hands, this appeared to be a great business, and the company owned more than 200 properties.

Just months prior, in November 2011, General Dynamics (GD) acquired armored vehicle manufacturer Force Protection for $5.52 per share, which represented a 30% premium. At one point, the relatively small, but cash rich name had traded very near to its net current asset value. General Dynamics made a very good deal here, in my opinion.

The latest is nuclear decommissioning and disposal name Energy Solutions (ES), which agreed to be taken private on Monday by Energy Capital Partners for $3.75 per share, a 9% premium to Friday's closing price. If you took a position in Energy Solutions over the summer, when it traded in the $1.50 to $1.75 range, as I did, you may be happy with the 100%-plus upside you've enjoyed. But the company, in my opinion is worth more.

That's what Indian Creek Investors, LP, which owns a 4.3% stake, believes. On Wednesday, Indian Creek's Managing Member Gary Siegler fired off a letter to Energy Solution's board of directors, suggesting that the company is worth "considerably more than $3.75 per share."
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