一个实业家的诞生——读巴菲特的信(11)

2011-10-24 10:28阅读:

一个实业家的诞生——读巴菲特的信(11)

Barrons

企业并购

企业并购为什么很难成功?首先,很多企业并购的动机就不纯,多是管理层为了自己的私利,权力欲,好大喜功,因为盘子越大,高管报酬越高。其次,真正好的并购目标并不多,好公司少,能够被并购的好公司就更少。最后,很多管理层根本不具备高超的运营管理能力,无法把被并购公司化腐朽为神奇,没有金刚钻却偏要揽瓷器活


If our success were to depend upon insights we developed through plant inspections, Berkshire would be in big trouble. Rather, in considering an acquisition, we attempt to evaluate the economic characteristics of the business - its competitive strengths and weaknesses - and the quality of the people we will be joining.

如果我们的成功依赖于我们在工厂巡视时得到的深入见解,伯克希尔将有大麻烦。与之相反,在考虑并购的时候,我们评估业务的经济特征,即它的竞争优势和弱点,以及将与我们一起工作的人的素质。

1986年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)

Our acquisition decisions will be aimed at maximizing real economic benefits, not at maximizing either managerial domain or reported numbers for accounting purposes. (In the long run, managements stressing accounting appearance over economic substance usually achieve little of either.)

我们的并购决策将以最大化真实经济效益为目标,而不是最大的管理领域,或者最大的汇报会计数字。(在长期,强调表面的会计数字胜过经济实质的管理层通常两者都得不到。)

Regardless of the impact upon immediately reportable earnings, we would rather buy 10% of Wonderful Business T at X per share than 100% of T at 2X per share. Most corporate managers prefer just the reverse, and have no shortage of stated rationales for their behavior.

不论对马上要汇报的盈利影响如何,我们宁愿以每股X的价格买10%的出色公司T,也不愿以每股2X的价格买下100%T公司股份。大多数企业的经理人的喜好与我们正好相反,而且他们从来不缺乏解释其行为的理由。

However, we suspect three motivations - usually unspoken - to be, singly or in combination, the important ones in most high-premium takeovers:

但是我们怀疑有三个通常不便明说的动机,单独或结合在一起,才是大多数高溢价收购的重要原因。

(1)Leaders, business or otherwise, seldom are deficient in animal spirits and often relish increased activity and challenge. At Berkshire, the corporate pulse never beats faster than when an acquisition is in prospect.

领导者,无论是在商业还是其他领域,从来不缺乏动物精神。他们常从增加的活动和更多的挑战中获得乐趣。在伯克希尔,当有并购可能时,企业的脉搏跳动得最快。

(2)Most organizations, business or otherwise, measure themselves, are measured by others, and compensate their managers far more by the yardstick of size than by any other yardstick. (Ask a Fortune 500 manager where his corporation stands on that famous list and, invariably, the number responded will be from the list ranked by size of sales; he may well not even know where his corporation places on the list Fortune just as faithfully compiles ranking the same 500 corporations by profitability.)

大多数组织,公司和其他机构,更多的用规模大小而不是任何其他尺度来衡量自己,或被别人衡量,而且根据规模大小来给经理人报酬。(问一个财富500强企业的经理,他的公司在榜上的位置,回答的数字总是来自于销售额大小的排名。他可能都不知道他的公司在同样一个财富500强排名的利润榜的地位。)

(3)Many managements apparently were over exposed in impressionable childhood years to the story in which the imprisoned handsome prince is released from a toad’s body by a kiss from a beautiful princess. Consequently, they are certain their managerial kiss will do wonders for the profitability of Company T(arget).

很多管理层明显受到了童年时期童话故事的过度影响。在那些故事里,美丽公主之吻解救了被囚于癞蛤蟆之身的英俊王子。结果是,他们确信他们的管理之吻将对并购目标公司T的盈利状况产生神奇的效果。

Such optimism is essential. Absent that rosy view, why else should the shareholders of Company A(cquisitor) want to own an interest in T at the 2X takeover cost rather than at the X market price they would pay if they made direct purchases on their own?

这种乐观是必不可少的。如果没有那样美好乐观的看法,为什么并购者A公司的股东想要以2X的价格收购T公司的一部分,与此同时,T公司的市场价格是X,他们为什么不自己直接购买。

In other words, investors can always buy toads at the going price for toads. If investors instead bankroll princesses who wish to pay double for the right to kiss the toad, those kisses had better pack some real dynamite. We’ve observed many kisses but very few miracles. Nevertheless, many managerial princesses remain serenely confident about the future potency of their kisses - even after their corporate backyards are knee-deep in unresponsive toads.

换句话说,投资者总能以目前的癞蛤蟆市场价来买癞蛤蟆。如果投资者资助那些愿意付双倍价格去吻癞蛤蟆的公主,这些吻得有真正的作用才行。我们观察到很多吻,但很少有奇迹发生。即便如此,很多管理层的公主仍然沉着地保持自信,自认为其吻具有未来的威力,即使企业的后院已经堆满了没膝深毫无反应的癞蛤蟆。

In fairness, we should acknowledge that some acquisition records have been dazzling. Two major categories stand out.

公平的说,我们应当认识到有些并购记录是光彩夺目的。主要有两大类。

The first involves companies that, through design or accident, have purchased only businesses that are particularly well adapted to an inflationary environment. Such favored business must have two characteristics: (1) an ability to increase prices rather easily(even when product demand is flat and capacity is not fully utilized) without fear of significant loss of either market share or unit volume, and (2) an ability to accommodate large dollar volume increases in business (often produced more by inflation than by real growth) with only minor additional investment of capital. Managers of ordinary ability, focusing solely on acquisition possibilities meeting these tests, have achieved excellent results in recent decades. However, very few enterprises possess both characteristics, and competition to buy those that do has now become fierce to the point of being self-defeating.

第一类是有些公司,无论是通过有意设计还是碰巧,只并购了些非常适应通胀环境的公司。这些受青睐的公司必须具有两个特性:(1)相当容易的涨价的能力(即使当产品需求持平,产能没有完全利用时),而不必担心市场份额或销量的大幅下跌。(2)有能力适应业务金额的大量增长(通常是由于通胀而不是真实增长所引起)而只需很少的额外资本投入。在最近几十年,一些能力平平的经理人,由于只关注符合这些条件的并购可能,已经获得了优异的成果。但是,只有很少的企业同时拥有这两种特性,并购这些企业的竞争现在已经变得过于白热化,以至于不值得买了。

The second category involves the managerial superstars - men who can recognize that rare prince who is disguised as a toad, and who have managerial abilities that enable them to peel away the disguise. We salute such managers as Ben Heineman at Northwest Industries, Henry Singleton at Teledyne, Erwin Zaban at National Service Industries, and especially Tom Murphy at Capital Cities Communications (a real managerial “twofer”, whose acquisition efforts have been properly focused in Category 1 and whose operating talents also make him a leader of Category 2). From both direct and vicarious experience, we recognize the difficulty and rarity of these executives’ achievements. (So do they; these champs have made very few deals in recent years, and often have found repurchase of their own shares to be the most sensible employment of corporate capital.)

第二类涉及一些管理超级明星,那些人能识别装扮成癞蛤蟆的稀有王子,而且有管理能力让王子脱下伪装。我们对这样的经理人表示致敬,如Northwest IndustriesBen HeinemanTeledyneHenry SingletonNational Service IndustriesErwin Zaban,尤其是Capital Cities CommunicationsTom Murphy(一个真正的双料管理人才,他的并购努力一直恰当的关注于第一类公司,而他的运营才能同时让他成为第二类的领袖。)通过直接和间接的经验,我们意识到这些经理人所取得的成就的困难性和珍贵程度。(他们也意识到了。这些冠军们在最近一些年只做了很少的并购。他们通常发现回购自己的股票是使用企业资本的最合理方式。)

Your Chairman, unfortunately, does not qualify for Category 2. And,despite a reasonably good understanding of the economic factors compelling concentration in Category 1, our actual acquisition activity in that category has been sporadic and inadequate. Our preaching was better than our performance. (We neglected the Noah principle: predicting rain doesn’t count, building arks does.)

你们的董事长,不幸的是,够不上第二类。除了对第一类中非常引人注目的经济因素的理解,我们在第一类的实际并购活动一直是零星而且不足。我们的布道好过我们的业绩。(我们忽视了诺亚的原则:预测下雨不算什么,建造方舟才重要。)

We have tried occasionally to buy toads at bargain prices with results that have been chronicled in past reports. Clearly our kisses fell flat. We have done well with a couple of princes - but they were princes when purchased. At least our kisses didn’t turn them into toads. And, finally, we have occasionally been quite successful in purchasing fractional interests in easily-identifiable princes at toad-like prices.

我们曾经偶尔尝试用便宜的价格买癞蛤蟆,这在过去的年报中有记录。很明显,我们的吻不管用。我们在几个王子身上取得了成功,但当我们并购时,他们就已经是王子了。还好,至少我们的吻没把他们变成癞蛤蟆。最后,我们有时能非常成功的以购买癞蛤蟆的价格购买一部分很容易识别的王子的权益。

1981年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)

We will continue to seek the acquisition of businesses in their entirety at prices that will make sense, even should the future of the acquired enterprise develop much along the lines of its past. We may very well pay a fairly fancy price for a Category 1 business if we are reasonably confident of what we are getting. But we will not normally pay a lot in any purchase for what we are supposed to bring to the party - for we find that we ordinarily don’t bring a lot.

我们将继续寻找用合理价格购买整个公司的机会,即使被并购的公司未来沿着过去的轨迹发展。如果我们相当确信我们所购买的业务,我们愿意付出相当高的价格购买第一类企业。但是我们一般不会对那些我们必须提供很多东西的并购支付大价钱,因为我们通常无法提供很多东西。

1981年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)

Currently, we find values most easily obtained through the open-market purchase of fractional positions in companies with excellent business franchises and competent, honest managements. We never expect to run these companies, but we do expect to profit from them.

目前,我们发现最容易获得价值的是,在公开市场购买具有商业特许经营而且有着诚实称职的管理层的优秀公司的一部分。我们从来不期望运营这些公司,但我们确实期望从中获利。

We expect that undistributed earnings from such companies will produce full value (subject to tax when realized) for Berkshire and its shareholders. If they don’t, we have made mistakes as to either:(1) the management we have elected to join; (2) the future economics of the business; or (3) the price we have paid.

我们预期这些公司的未分配利润将给伯克希尔及其股东产生全部价值(受到实现时税务的影响)。如果他们不能产生全部价值,那么我们可能在以下领域犯了错:(1)我们决定合作的管理层。(2)业务的未来经济前景。或者(3)我们付出的价格。

We have made plenty of such mistakes - both in the purchase of non-controlling and controlling interests in businesses. Category(2) miscalculations are the most common. Of course, it is necessary to dig deep into our history to find illustrations of such mistakes -sometimes as deep as two or three months back. For example, last year your Chairman volunteered his expert opinion on the rosy futureof the aluminum business. Several minor adjustments to that opinion– now aggregating approximately 180 degrees - have since been required.

我们犯过很多这样的错,不论是购买非控股还是控股公司。第(2)类的误判最普遍。当然,必须深入挖掘我们的历史才能找到这些错误的例子,有时候是两三个月前的历史。比如,去年,你们的董事长自告奋勇提出了他对铝业美好未来的意见。对那个意见经过几个小的调整之后,现在必须做180度的改变。

For personal as well as more objective reasons, however, we generally have been able to correct such mistakes far more quickly in the case of non-controlled businesses (marketable securities) than in the case of controlled subsidiaries. Lack of control, in effect, often has turned out to be an economic plus.

由于个人及客观原因,我们通常能对这种错误进行调整,对非控股公司(可出售证券)的调整远远快于控股子公司。缺乏控制,实际上常常反而变成了经济上的好处。

1981年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)

十年以后再看并购

对于并购,巴菲特自己的感触很深,因为他也曾亲吻过癞蛤蟆,无功而返。十年以后的信中,再次提及并购,巴菲特说出了著名的“用合理的价格购买好的公司,而不是用好的价格购买一般的公司。”的论断。
Of all our activities at Berkshire, the most exhilarating for Charlie and me is the acquisition of a business with excellent economic characteristics and a management that we like, trust and admire. Such acquisitions are not easy to make but we look for them constantly. In the search, we adopt the same attitude one might find appropriate in looking for a spouse: It pays to be active, interested and open-minded, but it does not pay to be in a hurry.

在伯克希尔的所有活动中,查理和我感到最兴奋的是并购具有优秀经济特征以及有着我们喜欢,信任和钦佩的管理层的公司。这些并购并不容易做,但我们一直在寻找。在寻找过程中,我们采用了适合寻找配偶的态度:积极主动,兴趣十足,以及思想开放是值得的,但是仓促行事则不可取

In the past, I've observed that many acquisition-hungry managers were apparently mesmerized by their childhood reading of the story about the frog-kissing princess. Remembering her success, they pay dearly for the right to kiss corporate toads, expecting wondrous transfigurations. Initially, disappointing results only deepen their desire to round up new toads. ('Fanaticism,' said Santyana, 'consists of redoubling your effort when you've forgotten your aim.') Ultimately, even the most optimistic manager must face reality. Standing knee-deep in unresponsive toads, he then announces an enormous 'restructuring' charge. In this corporate equivalent of a Head Start program, the CEO receives the education but the stockholders pay the tuition.

过去,我曾注意到很多急于并购的经理人显然是还沉迷于他们童年读的有关亲吻青蛙的公主的故事中。记住了她的成功,这些经理人花大价钱购买亲吻企业界的癞蛤蟆的权利,期望神奇的转变。刚开始,失望的结果只不过进一步加深了他们的渴望,去获得更多的癞蛤蟆。(桑塔亚那说“狂热”,“包含了当你忘记了你的目标时却把你的努力加倍”)最终,即使是最乐观的经理人也必须面对现实。站在没膝深毫无反应的癞蛤蟆中,他于是宣布大量的“重组”费用。这相当于企业的幼儿启蒙计划,CEO受到了教育,股东支付了学费。

In my early days as a manager I, too, dated a few toads. They were cheap dates - I've never been much of a sport - but my results matched those of acquirers who courted higher-priced toads. I kissed and they croaked.

在我早年,作为一个经理,我也曾与几个癞蛤蟆约会。他们是便宜的约会对象。我从来都在体育竞赛上不行,但我在约会癞蛤蟆的竞赛中可以与那些购买了高价癞蛤蟆的并购者比肩。我吻了,他们仍呱呱叫。

After several failures of this type, I finally remembered some useful advice I once got from a golf pro (who, like all pros who have had anything to do with my game, wishes to remain anonymous). Said the pro: 'Practice doesn't make perfect; practice makes permanent.' And thereafter I revised my strategy and tried to buy good businesses at fair prices rather than fair businesses at good prices.

几个这样的失败之后,我终于回忆起曾经从一个职业高尔夫球手那里得到的一些有用的忠告(他与其他与我们有联系的职业人士一样,希望保持匿名)。他说到:“练习并不能产生完美;练习只造成固定不变。”所以,在那之后,我改变了自己的策略,试着用合理的价格购买好的公司,而不是用好的价格购买一般的公司。

1992年给伯克希尔·哈撒韦股东的信)