Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Why I bought Major Automotive

Today I bought 999 shares of Major Automotive at $1.75 a share. Nearly 100% of the reason may be found in a recent SEC filing. I haven't had many good ideas for long-term investments, so I thought I'd try out an idea for a short-term investment I'd recently read about. The basic idea is to invest in shares that will be cashed out in order for the company to go private.

My hurdle rate for short-term investments is the 4-5% that I will be getting from the money market account my cash will be invested in over the next few months. If I don't expect to earn that rate, I'm better off staying in cash. The Major Automotive proxy says that anyone holding fewer than 1,000 shares will receive $1.90 in cash if the deal is approved. So I stand to receive $1,890.10 for my 999 shares. Including commission ($19.95), I spent $1768.20 to buy my shares, which works out to a $129.90 gain. Obviously, this isn't going to be a huge investment in absolute terms, but it is a little over 7% rate of return.

The one thing I don't know, however, is how long it will be before I get the cash. If the deal is approved at the annual meeting on March 3, and the paperwork takes until the end of the month, I'll be holding the shares for about 1/12 of the year. On an annualized basis, my return (130%) blows away the hurdle rate. Of course, it could take longer than that. But as long as it doesn't become a long-term investment, I'm in good shape.

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