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Four decades of investing with Gordon Crawford

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

WILL MCKENNA: I know that given your tenure covering that industry, you developed a lot of close relationships with some of those managers, and in many ways became a confidant and kind of a sounding board for them. Can you talk about some of those experiences and some of the stories you may have?

GORDON CRAWFORD: I was following an industry, or really a group of industries, under this umbrella of media and entertainment. And so many of them were really new industries that were not well-covered. I was fortunate in that I was there for a long time. I remember that Fidelity always had a new media analyst every two or three years, because they’d start as an analyst and then, if they were good, they would grab them and make them a portfolio manager. So for me to have been there 40 years, a lot of the people that are running the companies today literally grew up in the business with me being one of the few guys that was always there. And it didn’t hurt that I was working for Capital, one of the largest global investment-management companies.

So there were a number of times in my career when somebody would come to me and either bounce a deal idea off of me or ask me for an introduction to somebody else. And when that happened, we would freeze trading in the stock until whatever I knew became public information.

And it happened a lot. A good example of it was, my wife and I were at Ted Turner’s ranch, fishing one August, and Ted got a call from Jerry Levin, the head of Time Warner, saying he wanted to fly out the next day to talk to Ted. And so Ted said fine, and Jerry Levin flew out. It was kind of a fun story, because my wife and Jane Fonda got to drive out and pick him up. Ted and I went fishing. We all had lunch that day, and then I went out fishing again. About 3:00, Ted comes — I see Ted up on the top of this ridge, all these buffalos out there — and he comes running down the hill, announcing that he’s agreed to be purchased by Time Warner.

So, of course, the first thing I did is I called up our legal department and told them to freeze trading on Time Warner, Turner, Liberty. And in that case, we ended up being frozen for, like, a month and a half, because they didn’t announce the deal for quite some time.

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