Iain Little's fund manager's diary
Comment of the Day

September 25 2013

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Iain Little's fund manager's diary

Thanks to the author for this edition of his popular note. This issue highlights the possible merger of the world's largest stamp purveyor with one of the largest investors in rare coins. Here is a section
The bid is not without its challenges. First, a successful outcome is contingent. SGI has first got to raise GBP 37mn -nearly half of its GBP 85mn market value- to afford the GBP 2.55 per share at which the bid for NBL will take place (GBP 1.93 will be in cash and the remaining GBP 0.62 in SGI shares). Second, SGI reserves the right to alter its terms. Anything can happen.

But far more significant, I think, is the nature of the deal. With both boards declaring their backing for it, we just might have stumbled on that exceedingly rare and collectible specimen: an M&A deal with industrial logic on both sides. Our readers will know our fascination for the "hard collectible assets" biz (synopsis: one in every three stamps is now traded by a Chinese, internet platforms sparking global volume gains, retiring baby boomers dusting off stamp collections, disenchantment with QE and money-printing in favour of things you can touch and hoard). I sense that the 2 boards see an atomized and localized collectibles industry where a larger, listed group can consolidate smaller operators using more highly valued paper

Eoin Treacy's view Supply and demand come into sharp focus when the item being considered cannot simply be printed into existence. This is particularly the case with stamps, rare coins, precious metals and art. One aspect that distinguishes precious metals from these other items is that they are exchange traded. Therefore they are subject to factors such as lending and shorting that do not affect the over-the-counter market for collectibles. On the other hand, while collectibles currently represent a liquid market that may not always be the case

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