Hedge funder Whitney Tilson is on CNBC right now, explaining why he went from short-to-long Barnes & Noble, an incredibly timed trade that’s made him a fortune.
He said there were a few reasons for the trade, including the fact that Jana Partners, whom he respects, went long.
Then he said he saw a bull case posted on the private website Value Investors Club, a place for investors to post ideas.
Photo: Value Investors Club
What are the Club Requirements? Members must post a minimum of 2 ideas (and a maximum of 6 ideas) per year, based upon the Anniversary Date of their member and must rate 20 ideas posted by other members. Each member can review their own submissions on their membership page. Only high quality ideas will count towards the membership requirement. In the spirit of the club, please do not wait until the last moments to meet your annual requirements.
What else is expected of VIC Members? Members should rate ideas considerately and after fully reading them. If a member rates an idea very poorly or very highly, some commentary is expected by the other members. There is no need to publicly declare or explain your rating, however, pointing out some flaws or errors in an idea rated “1” or “2” will help the author of the idea submit better work next time. Additionally, answering questions posted to your idea is an important part of good membership.
Can I share my user id with anyone else? Members may not share their login information. Each member joins VIC individually. If there is someone else who would like access to VIC, please direct them to apply.
I like another member’s idea or comments, how do I get in touch with him or her privately to discuss it?We do not put members in touch with each other. If you have comments on the idea or wish to discuss it, please post your questions publicly for the benefit of all members. Email addresses and phone numbers may not be posted on the site.
How many ideas do I need to submit to maintain my membership?
Members are required to submit two new ideas each year.
When are my ideas due?
Each Member’s two ideas will be due by the anniversary of the date they joined the site, their “Anniversary Date”. Each Member’s Anniversary Date is listed on the My Member Page under Member Functions.
Why did you change the date that ideas are due from December 31?
Previously all Members had to submit their two ideas by December 31. This led to a flood of ideas being posted each year from December 15 to 31. We think that Members will benefit from a more even flow of ideas through the year.
Does that mean that I have until my Anniversary Date to submit my two ideas?
You will maintain full access to the site until your Anniversary Date. To prevent lower quality last minute ideas, Members who wait until the end to submit their ideas will face the additional scrutiny of their fellow Members. If one month before your Anniversary Date you still haven’t submitted any ideas for the year then your next idea will be subject to a Member Vote to determine whether it should count.
I submitted an idea in the past and I still like it. Can I re-post the same company and have it count towards membership?
No. Previously any two ideas counted towards membership, but in future only a new idea for the Member will count. You are still free to re-post ideas, but they will not count towards your two ideas for the year. You may submit an idea that was previously posted by another Member of the site as long as your work on the idea is original.
How many ideas do I need to rate?
Members must rate 20 ideas per year.
What if I don’t meet my membership obligation?
You will automatically be set to Re-Activation Status: see below.
What are the expectations around the message string on an idea posted to the site?
Our expectation is for members to conduct or have previously conducted a basic amount of research into the idea before posting a question to the message string. Questions that can be answered by reading the idea writeup itself or whose answers are obvious from a quick look at annual report or 10Q are not adding value to the investment discussion. Our expectation is that the member posting the idea answer thoughtful questions posted on the idea, especially those questions that identify a flaw in the investment thesis or exhibit research into the idea.
What is Re-Activation Status?
Members who do not submit two ideas by their Anniversary Date are automatically set to Re-Activation Status. To regain real time access to the site and the ability to rate and make comments, a Member needs to submit an idea to the site. The VIC Community will read the idea and vote on it. If more than 2/3 of the voting VIC Members believe that your idea should count for Membership, your Membership will automatically be Re-Activated.
Couldn’t someone post no ideas for 12 months and then submit a single idea for Re-Activation?
If a Member owes two ideas and submits one for Re-Activation it will only create six months of Membership. Additionally, the VIC Members are free to hold the Re-Activation idea to a much higher standard in their voting.
Do ratings affect the weekly contest winner? No.
Should I rate my own ideas? Sure, if you are willing to rate your ideas objectively. We don’t expect every member to submit only “10’s”, so there should be some variability in the ratings of your ideas.
Is anything else expected when giving a very low rating? As mentioned above, very low ratings, such as a “1” or a “2” should be accompanied by some commentary about the flaws in the investment thesis.
Why is the rating not visible? Ratings only become visible after an idea has been rated by at least 5 members.
What type of ideas are suitable for the board? Value and special situation equity ideas are the main focus of the website, but additionally we welcome short ideas, and fixed income ideas that are either special situation or distress in nature. International investment ideas, while discouraged as application ideas, are fine for members to submit to the board.
An idea was previously posted, when can it be resubmitted? An idea can be resubmitted to the site a minimum of 6 months after a previous submission. Before posting an idea, please search by ticker or look it up under the ideas A-Z to see if it was previously submitted. If there is a special situation that has arisen during this time period, please contact us about exceptions.
How often can I win the weekly contest? The contest winner is selected solely on merit. There is no limit as to how often a member can win the idea of the week contest.
Will my application idea be automatically posted? VIC does not automatically move application ideas to the members’ site. Each member, once admitted, decides what ideas he or she would like to submit to the board.
Why was my idea taken down? Occasionally members post ideas that have not been presented in nearly enough to detail to meet the standards of the board. VIC will take down ideas that clearly do not meet the quality levels of the other members’ ideas. Fortunately, this is an uncommon event.
What sort of searches can I do? The search box has a drop down menu that will allow you to search by member, by ticker symbol, by company name, by rating, or by keyword. Any keyword may be entered into the box to bring up all ideas that have that keyword in the idea text.
What is a private message? A member may elect to make a message private, so that it does not become part of the Guest Access message string when the idea becomes eligible for Guest Access. Members have expressed a desire to have certain comments limited to just the VIC membership community, rather than the general public.
How many characters can an idea or message have?The database can support ideas of approximately 25,000 characters or approximately 4,000 words. The messages are limited to 6,000 characters or approximately 1,000 words.
TOPICS What are “Topics”? Each Member can start 2 general discussion topics each year on investing areas that are not specific to any particular investment idea. Lately, we’ve seen some in-depth conversations on topics such as gas exploration and community banks, develop on the message strings of individual ideas. This new feature is intended to facilitate discussions that are general in nature and are not necessarily reflected in a single investible idea. Please check out FAQ for more details How many Topics can a member suggest during a year? Each member may suggest 2 topics for discussion each year, however, if any topic becomes a popular and active topic, then the member may suggest an additional topic, for each active topic submitted. In other words, there are no limit to the number of topics that a member may suggest that proves to be popular with the other members, however, a member may only submit 2 unpopular topics per year.