Talking to Management, Part 1: The Big Questions
This column was originally published on RealMoney on April 16, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. ET. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com University readers. For more information about subscribing to RealMoney, please click here.
Editor's note: We're pleased to present David Merkel's five-part series on questions to ask the management of a public company. Each part covers a new set of issues and the reasons to raise them. In Part 1, Merkel explains the philosophy behind his approach and presents the big subjects he likes to get out of the way first.
"I am a better investor because I am a businessman, and a better businessman because I am an investor." -- Warren Buffett
One of the things I try to do in my investing is analyze the quality of a management team. Though this is a squishy discipline, if I can be approximately right in this endeavor, I can add a lot of value.
I want to share with you the questions I ask management and the reasons I ask them because I believe they're useful even if you never come face-to-face with a real live C-suite dweller. They cover six major areas:
- general topics
- pricing and products
- changing environment
- mergers and acquisitions
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