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Four decades of investing with Gordon Crawford

Gordon Crawford
Portfolio manager
Based in:
Los Angeles
Investment experience:

WILL MCKENNA: We already talked about some of the relationships you built over time, but what other factors contribute to your decision-making criteria when you’re assessing these companies? What are the key things for you?

GORDON CRAWFORD: I love tailwind investing — what I call tailwind investing. I love finding what I think will be an enduring secular trend. It could be cable in the early days when they were just beginning to roll out their own products, which would allow them to increase their penetration, increase their ARPU [average revenue per user]. The same thing with cellular. I remember when cellular first started. People, analysts were arguing whether there’d be 2% penetration or 10% penetration. And I thought, longer term, “Why would anybody call a desk or a wall and hope somebody’s there?” I always thought it was going to be ubiquitous at some point.

I love finding a theme like that and being able to invest in the companies and own them for a long period of time. I value managements. Some of my great investments — as I say, like Liberty Media with John Malone — have been because I love investing in companies where every day, when I come to work, that CEO or that management team is actually figuring out ways that I’m not even aware of to enhance the investment that I have with them. It’s a lot better than investing with a bunch of managements who are doing bozo things that are a detriment to value.

Having said that, there’ve been plenty of times when I felt a whole industry, like cable, was attractive, and we owned virtually every company in it. The companies that were less well-managed ended up being taken out. So you can make money with good managements and bad managements, you know? I prefer good, but I’m eclectic and perfectly willing to make money with bad if there’s a good enough tailwind and industry trend that is going to carry all boats up.

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The statements included here are the opinions and beliefs of the speaker(s) expressed at the time the commentary was recorded and are not intended to represent those persons’ opinions and beliefs at any other time.