Profile: Henry Singleton

“By the way, you may not know, but the Michael Jordan of stock buybacks was Henry Singleton at Teledyne. Henry began Teledyne in 1961 with approximately seven million shares outstanding and grew the company through acquisitions while shares outstanding peaked in 1972 at 88 million. From 1972 to 1987, long before stock buybacks became popular, Henry reduced the shares outstanding by 87% to 12 million. Book value per share and stock prices compounded in excess of 22% per year during Henry’s 27 year watch at Teledyne B one of the best track records in the business. We will always consider investing in our stock first (i.e. stock buyback) before making any acquisitions.”

Prem Watsa in his 1997 letter to shareholders of Fairfax Financial Holdings

“Our attitude toward cash generation and asset managment came out of our own thought process” says Singelton. “It is not copied. After we acquired a number of businesses we reflected on aspects of business. Our own conclusion was that the key was cash flow.”
Source: Manual of Ideas

Articles on Henry Singleton and Teledyne

Henry Singleton on gregspeicher.com (link)
Reflecting on Leon Cooperman’s “Case Study in Financial Brilliance, Teledyne, Inc.” on Value Investing Resource (link)

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