GuruFocus had the pleasure of hosting a presentation with David Marcus, the co-founder, CEO and chief investment officer of Evermore Global Advisors LLC.
He co-founded the firm in 2009. Marcus is portfolio manager of the Evermore Global Value Fund and its separate account portfolios.
Beginning his career in 1988 at Mutual Series Fund, where he was mentored by renowned value investor Michael Price (Trades, Portfolio), Marcus rose to manage the Mutual European Fund and co-manage the Mutual Shares and Mutual Discovery Funds, representing over $14 billion in assets. He also served as director of European investments for Franklin Mutual Advisers LLC.
In 2000, Marcus founded Marcstone Capital Management LP, a long-short Europe-focused equity manager, largely funded by Swedish financier Jan Stenbeck. After Stenbeck passed away in 2002, Marcus closed Marcstone, co-founded a family office for the Stenbeck family and advised on the restructuring of a number of the public and private companies the family controlled.
Marcus later founded and served as managing partner of MarCap Investors LP, which was seeded by Dan Stern of Reservoir Capital. At MarCap, Marcus managed a European small-cap special situations fund from 2004 to 2009. At MarCap, he took large positions in small- and mid-cap companies, and, in a number of situations, took board seats to help set strategy and guide restructuring efforts.
Marcus graduated from Northeastern University in 1988 with a bachelor of science in business administration and a concentration in finance.
Watch the full stream here:
Note that due to a technical issue, the introduction of Marcus by the host was removed.
Marcus began his presentation with a brief look at his background in investing. He explained that he was extremely lucky to have started his investing career during a market crisis under the guidance of renowned investor Michael Price (Trades, Portfolio).
After learning a great deal during his initial years in the industry, Marcus decided to explore outside of the U.S. and traveled to Europe. Overseas, he found many companies were family owned and he learned it was critical to understand how the main shareholder of a company thinks.
By creating an extensive network of families and investment banks, he was able to build a depth of knowledge of European markets. One of these connections, Jan Stenbeck, would help him kick off his own endeavor into investing. Drawing on all of his experiences, Marcus would eventually develop his own system to research and value companies.
Marcus then transitioned to discuss family-controlled companies, which are companies where an individual or several members of a family directly or indirectly control a significant ownership interest and can influence the direction it goes.
The investor covered a number of examples that fit within several different categories of high-performing, family-controlled companies.
One such company was Exor NV (EXXRF, Financial), a holding company based in Amsterdam that has interests in a number of businesses, including The Economist, Ferrari (RACE, Financial) and Louboutin. It is controlled by the Agnelli family.
Another example Marcus discussed was IAC/InterActiveCorp (IAC, Financial), a New York-based internet and media holding company founded by Barry Diller, who currently acts as chairman. Its businesses include Angi, Dotdash Meredith and Care.com.
The first question Marcus answered after his presentation was how he does research on the controlling families. He noted that he finds information from interviews, news articles, companies’ websites and even analyst presentations, but you have to be willing to do the work.
Another one of the many questions he answered was in reference to how he goes about trying to meet members of some of these families. Marcus emphasized that you will not always meet everyone, but it starts with getting to know the company and its players. He then reaches out to the company with some questions and asks for a meeting with the main shareholder. When he does get to meet them, his goal is to understand who they are as a person, not learn more about the company.
The final question Marcus answered was in regard to his thesis on Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP (CLMT, Financial), which is Evermore’s largest position. The firm got involved in the company during a turnaround that the market was skeptical of. While the initial position was small, he added that it continues to remain a compelling opportunity that has worked.