In a tribute piece in Barron’sfor Michael Price, the well-known value investor who passed away last week at age 70, Meryl Witmer writes of the years she spent working with him at Mutual Shares (a division of Price’s former investment company). As a young investment banker Witmer, now a general partner at Eagle Capital Partners, drew many lessons from Price, whom she says was always asking, “Where is it trading and what is it worth?”
Among the other lessons she gleaned from him that she lists in the piece are finding opportunities in fear and pessimism when evaluating businesses, which should always be done on facts and merit, rather than emotion. Additionally, take stock of a company’s bad news and deduct it from its value.
Witmer writes fondly of the rolls of nickels kept in the office to make copies at the bankruptcy court, when recounting Price’s advice to dig deep and rely on primary sources when researching, and to not use sell-side reports. Shareholders should understand their rights and, even more, assert them when necessary, was another lesson she learned from Price, as well as recognizing how a solid management team can transform a company for the better. Lastly, she points to his forward-thinking advice to “always follow a process. Not everything will work, but you will be way ahead.”
Price was also known for his “generosity, intelligence, and fairness,” and Witmer writes in conclusion how grateful she is to have worked with him, extending her condolences to his family, along with everyone who knew him.