MARC HASENFUSS: Scary tale of my wife and 2,000 Naspers shares
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Some things are best left unsaid. I can’t explain how much I regret telling my wife that I was, albeit briefly, a Naspers shareholder back in 2002 (when I joined subsidiary company Media24).
The topic of my investing endeavours came up during one of our regular interrogations ... sorry, I mean chats, around the eternal question of "why aren’t we rich yet?"
My wife persisted on the Naspers topic, until I confessed that I had bought 2,000 Naspers shares at around R18.50. I sold them at R48 after a round of golf with an asset manager who said I should hang on to Naspers because the share was going to hit R100.
I suppose the lesson is: never assume that a man who can’t find a green in six shots can’t pick a game-changing share.
Anyway, my wife inevitably did the calculation to determine what 2,000 Naspers shares would be worth today, and consequently takes a very active interest in our investment portfolio.
She is, I confess, a far more successful investor than I am. While I like to scratch around dusty corners of the JSE for value under the cobwebs, Jenny takes a more straightforward approach of backing stocks with winning track records, inspiring leadership and strong consumer appeal.
I had my misgivings when I saw Stadio Holdings on her portfolio this month — but the early share performance dictates I should hold my tongue at this juncture. Still, I will confess it smarts like hell when my carefully assessed positions in deep-value plays like Deneb Investments, Howden Africa and Nu-World Holdings get schooled by an upstart.
On another tack, being a monthly magazine (with early production deadlines) means that often we can’t tackle stories that are "developing". One such example is empowerment group Grand Parade Investments, where the huge discount to intrinsic value appears to have the vultures circling. Many readers have contacted me about what might transpire at GPI — which is an intriguing punt on fast food (mainly via Burger King and a significant minority stake in Spur Corp) and gaming (mainly the GrandWest casino).
The break-up proposition at GPI — even at a low point for casinos and a lean time for fast food — is compelling. I would hate to see one of the more enduring empowerment counters dismantled, especially as Burger King appears to be finding traction.
But there’s food for thought in reversing Burger King into Spur in exchange for shares (which would boost empowerment levels), with the gaming and other assets flogged off. I also hope to see GPI buying back more of its undervalued shares.