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TheStreet Open House

Bill Miller's Buys for 2010

By Jonas Elmerraji

Of all the champions of value investing, few stand as tall as Bill Miller, the Legg Mason fund manager who co-founded the firm's storied Value Trust (LMVTX).

Against all statistical odds, the fund managed to outperform the S&P 500 for 15 consecutive years between 1991 and 2005, granting Miller the title of "Fund Manager of the Decade" from Morningstar.

That was hardly the end of the story. The Legg Mason Value Trust got hit hard in 2008 along with the rest of the broad market -- reversing its once lofty track record. By June 2008, the fund's 10-year return had fallen below the S&P 500's unimpressive decade-long performance. All the while, Miller took heat from investors as his reputation as a Wall Street savant deteriorated.

Though Miller's fund was down, the manager was far from out. The Legg Mason Value Trust regained a good chunk of its 2008 losses the following year during a memorable equity rally, outperforming the rest of its fund category by nearly 10% according to Morningstar data. As Miller continues to work his fund toward recovery, it's worth noting which stocks this famous fund manager is loading up on in 2010.

Here's a glimpse into his portfolio at the Legg Mason Value Trust.

One of Miller's big buys for 2010 was Genzyme (GENZ), the $17 billion biotechnology company that's being courted by French pharma giant Sanofi-Aventis (SNY). Miller and the Value Trust picked up 1.45 million shares of the firm in the latest quarter.

While Sanofi's $69 bid for shares of Genzyme has helped buoy shares of the stock in the last several months, with prices are up more than 35% year to date, investors remain lukewarm on the deal, which many analysts see as Sanofi's attempt to acquire Genzyme at a bargain price.

Scuttlebutt on the Street suggests that the deal isn't going to go through anytime soon, if at all. More likely, Sanofi will be forced to raise its bid to secure Genzyme's shareholders.

That shouldn't come as a total surprise to investors right now. With successful rare disease drugs, more cash than debt, and massive free cash flow generation ability, Genzyme makes for an attractive investment at significantly higher prices than it currently trades for.

Goldman Sachs (GS) is another firm that saw increased standing in Miller's fund last quarter. Goldman has been on the ropes for the past few months as SEC lawsuits and lackluster earnings plagued the company's once surprisingly impressive investment profile. The Legg Mason Value Trust picked up approximately 182,000 shares in the last quarter.

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