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Episodic Opportunities in the Global Markets

Jason Stipp

Jason Stipp: We've heard from some global managers that we've talked to, that they are seeing relatively more values overseas than they are domestically.

I was wondering, when you consider where you are finding the opportunities that you are most excited about, are you seeing any patterns, any regional patterns, any areas where you are seeing a dislocation that's particularly acute and where you are finding lots of potential opportunities to dig through. Any themes showing up there?

Matthew McLennan: Well, at First Eagle, we are very much security-by-security in our approach to identifying opportunity. Sometimes themes emerge collectively in pockets of distress, and sometimes it's a bit more idiosyncratic, and I would say of late, it is a little bit more idiosyncratic in nature.

We do, as you correctly pointed out, look across the whole globe for opportunities. We've always been very global in our focus, and if you look at the long history of the funds, at most points in time U.S. equities have been in the minority in our portfolio. We've sought mispricings all around the world.

Today when we look across the world, we've actually increased our U.S. holdings a little bit over the last 12 months or so, not dramatically, but we've seen a range of opportunities in the United States, and that has led to a gradual increase in the weightings in the United States, and elsewhere around the world it's been more episodic.

So, in Europe last year, when we had the Greek crisis, we did commit some capital to some German-based investments where we felt that Germany would come out better than other parts of Europe, but more importantly, we had identified individual businesses such as HeidelbergCement that were truly global in nature, happened to be listed in Europe and Germany, and sold off with the crisis, but afforded us the opportunity to own a very long duration cement and aggregates business at a very low multiple of cash flow.

In Japan, during that week following the earthquake, where we had a window of crisis, we did commit capital in the Japanese market, but other than those moments of crisis, it has been a little bit more security-by-security, and if anything, slightly skewed to U.S. of late, but the U.S. still remains a minority in our portfolio.