Opinion: 10 stocks that have what it takes to be a ‘perfect’ company

My current column describing the “perfect company” elicited a number of nominees from readers. They’re price sharing and will even present the premise for developing a portfolio.

As a recap, a colleague as soon as outlined the right firm as requiring no incremental capital, yielding functionally infinite returns, and sustaining a long-term view. The right firm’s chief should excel at allocating capital, mainly by means of serial acquisitions of companies thereafter managed in a decentralized construction based mostly on belief.

Acknowledging that such firms are uncommon, readers recommended quite a few examples. These 10, listed beneath in alphabetical order, had been talked about a number of occasions: 

1. Adobe

2. Alphabet (Google)


3. Berkshire Hathaway


4. Constellation Software program


5. Danaher

6. Fairfax Monetary Holdings

7. Illinois Device Works

8. Johnson & Johnson

9. Markel

10. Roper Applied sciences

These firms function in industries usually requiring zero or modest incremental capital — insurance coverage, sciences, expertise and software program.  That meets the primary hurdle. 

Their management is powerful, usually iconic, and positively long-term. Berkshire’s Warren Buffett, Constellation’s Mark Leonard, and Fairfax’s Prem Watsa have personified their firms for many years, and all developed a deep bench of like-minded managers.  A succession of spectacular leaders has run all of the others, such because the Rales brothers at Danaher and the Markel household at their eponymous firm.

Acquisition self-discipline is evidenced by excessive returns on capital deployed, the businesses’ opportunistic character, and their relative obscurity.  As for the latter, just a few of the 1000’s of acquisitions made by these 10 firms are marquee names on the order of Adobe’s Photoshop, Alphabet’s YouTube, or Berkshire’s Dairy Queen.  Most individuals haven’t heard of the vast majority of the companies these firms have acquired.  ISCAR, Pall, Quipp, Vertafore anybody?

Acquisition frequency and scale range. Constellation, for instance, has made a whole lot of small acquisitions whereas Illinois Device Works has made maybe 1,000. Adobe, Danaher, Fairfax, and Markel have made dozens or scores of purchases, a few of appreciable dimension. The others are all around the map in quantity and sizes. One factor these traders have in frequent is that they wait for his or her pitch.

All of those firms are organized alongside decentralized strains. Headquarters delegates substantial autonomy to the heads of the assorted companies. Belief permeates their cultures.

The information again up the impressions. For example, these firms repeatedly lead the pack in rankings of attributes of the right firm, akin to capital allocation prowess and decentralized trust-based cultures.

They’re additionally notable for the longevity of their leadership and insider possession of the inventory (especially by directors, suggesting they “get” the right firm).

Not coincidentally, all 10 firms rank high in attracting long-term targeted (“quality”) shareholders. In addition they rank excessive within the caliber of their shareholder communications — a logical add-on of the right firm from the shareholders’ viewpoint.             

Briefly, readers have helpfully recognized “excellent firms” within the sense my colleague described.  Whether or not these firms are excellent investments is determined by their prevailing inventory value.  However they definitely warrant an in depth look.

Lawrence A. Cunningham is a professor at George Washington College, founding father of the Quality Shareholders Group, and writer, since 1997, of “The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America.” Cunningham owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Constellation Software program and Markel. He’s a director and vice-chairman of Constellation Software program. For updates on Cunningham’s analysis about high quality shareholders, sign up here

Extra: Here’s the recipe for a ‘perfect business’ — and a tasty stock

Additionally learn: Smart stock investors know to check this telling sign of a company’s health

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-stocks-that-have-what-it-takes-to-be-a-perfect-company-11628125333?rss=1&siteid=rss | Opinion: 10 shares which have what it takes to be a ‘excellent’ firm


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