BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- For decades now, investors have increased their focus on following the smart money, reading books and letters penned by everyone from hedge fund managers to corporate CEOs. But how much would you pay to get inside the head of one money manager?
In the case of Baupost Group's value investing guru,
, investors are paying up serious cash to get a glimpse of a winning investment methodology.
In 1982, Klarman founded Baupost Group, a private investment partnership seeded by $27 million from wealthy Boston families. Today, Baupost manages funds in excess of $1.6 billion thanks to a phenomenal track record. But while Baupost is closed to new investors, Wall Street's clamoring over the opportunity to glean insight from Klarman's 1991 book,
Margin of Safety, Risk Averse Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor
The book, which details the hedge fund manager's approach to value plays, was never reprinted. Today, a copy of the tome will set you back between $700 and $3,000.
But if you're not willing to pay top dollar for Klarman's investing insights, a lot can still be learned from the stocks his fund is buying right now. Here's a look at the
By far, Baupost's biggest position increase last quarter was in
. The firm increased the value of its position in the stock by $145 million. ViaSat, which provides satellite and wireless communications systems, has significant business with both the U.S. government and the private sector.
ViaSat has seen its margins squeezed in recent years despite consistent revenue growth. That's due, in part, to a new focus on providing satellite-based broadband to consumers, a service that generally underperforms the government contract segment of ViaSat's business.
That said, ViaSat's profitability continues to be good overall, allowing the company plenty of leeway to see its consumer business bear out.
Developmental biopharmaceutical company
is another stock that Klarman is increasing his firm's position in. Baupost added $41.15 million in Theravance shares to its portfolio the latest quarter.
Once focused solely on developmental drugs, Theravance has now become commercially viable thanks to the FDA approval of the company's antibiotic Vibativ. Viativ, which is aimed at treating hospital-acquired pneumonia, could be the key to curbing major capital burn in Theravance's coffers right now, but major deals with the big pharma players could be equally compelling in the longer term. Theravance is currently working with
to develop a new respiratory therapy designed to take the place of Advair, a drug that's already commercially successful.
The potential for an acquisition of Theravance makes this stock interesting in 2010, especially given the recent uptick in M&A activity.
One new position in Baupost's portfolio is
, a firm that invests in middle market leveraged companies. Solar Capital was one of 2010's early IPOs, hitting the market in early February. Baupost took a $40.4 million position in the firm.
Since going public, Solar Capital has been the beneficiary of bullish analyst coverage, no doubt buoyed by major investments from the likes of Seth Klarman. Part of the positive tilt on the company, though, is thanks to its generous dividend payouts, which currently sit at 60 cents per quarter. That payout to shareholders is possible largely because of the favorable rates that Solar Capital generates on its lending investments. While that's a boon to investors when times are relatively good, another credit crunch could be a tough pill to swallow.
That said, the current economy should continue to support the hefty payout. With a strong management team and flush funding, expect Solar Capital to impress investors when it announces earnings on June 30.
Another new position for Baupost last quarter was
( ADCT). The hedge fund took up a $36.5 million stake in the company.
ADC Telecom is a broadband infrastructure company whose customers include telecom carriers, cable providers, and enterprise clients. As such, the company has business relationships with some of the biggest names in the industry, fuelling mid single-digit growth in recent years. With an increased focus on revamping old infrastructure right now, the company should continue to perform well.
But don't expect to see big gains for your own portfolio in this play.
announced earlier this month that they'd be acquiring ADC for $12.75 per share -- a 40% premium to its former price, but only a 2.3% risk premium to current levels.
To see the rest of Seth Klarman's plays, check out the
-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.
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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.
Jonas Elmerraji is the editor and portfolio manager of the Rhino Stock Report, a free investment advisory that returned 15% in 2008. He is a contributor to numerous financial outlets, including Forbes and Investopedia, and has been featured in Investor's Business Daily, in Consumer's Digest and on MSNBC.com.