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[经济学人] [2008.01.31][Business]facevalue The test of long-term Eddie

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发表于 2010-4-29 03:31 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
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The testing of long-term Eddie

艰难时刻

Jan 31st 2008
From The Economist print edition


Once dubbed the next Warren Buffett, Eddie Lampert is now being well and truly buffeted

艾迪拉姆伯特昔日被称为股神巴菲特第二,现在他正面临考验。


EDDIE LAMPERT has endured worse days than these. After all, it is only five years since the billionaire investor was kidnapped in the garage of his office in leafy Greenwich, Connecticut, and spent a weekend tied up in a motel bath-tub before somehow talking his way to freedom. But as far as his investments are concerned, things have never been tougher for a man who has taken home $1 billion a year on two occasions, become the richest man in Connecticut and prompted comparisons to no less an investor than the Sage of Omaha, Warren Buffett.


艾迪拉姆伯特不是没有经历过风浪。在他康涅狄格格林威治镇的办公楼车库里,这位身价几十亿的风险投资人惨遭绑架,被五花大绑的在汽车旅馆的浴缸里过了一个周末,最后终于谈妥开价,重获自由。毕竟这事才过去五年而已。艾迪曾两度一年收入10亿美元,成为了康涅狄格最富有的人,很快被比作股神巴菲特第二。但目前他的投资遇到了前所未有的困难。




For months there has been talk of deepening problems at Sears, a giant retailer of which Mr Lampert is the chairman and largest shareholder. Several hedge funds, once seen as Mr Lampert's acolytes, have sold their shares. Another of his big investments, in Citigroup, has plunged in value. In 2007 his investment firm, ESL Holdings, turned in its worst performance since he created it in 1988, reportedly losing 25% of its value. The media, which not all that long ago lionized him, have turned hostile, describing his actions at Sears as “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic”, asking if he has “lost his Midas Touch”, naming him “worst boss of the year” and even suggesting that his difficulties indicate impending trouble for dealmakers everywhere. The latest piece of bad news came on January 28th when, days after news leaked of a big restructuring at Sears, it was announced that Mr Lampert had sacked its chief executive of less than three years, Aylwin Lewis.


关于美国百货零售商sears遭遇严峻问题的传闻已有数月之久。拉姆伯特先生是这家零售业巨头的董事长兼最大股东。有几家对冲基金曾经忠实的追随拉姆伯特脚步,现已抛售了所持有的股票。拉姆伯特的另一大投资对象花旗集团市值也大跌。2007年是拉姆伯特的投资公司ESL Holdings88年创建以来业绩最差的一年,所公布的市值损失25%。不久前媒体还对拉姆伯特一片赞誉声,如今却群起而攻之,把他在sears的改革描述成换汤不换药,质问他是不是失灵了,提名他为年度最差的老板,甚至提出拉姆伯特遭遇的困境预示所有交易者都即将面临灾祸。在有报道暴料sears经历了一场大的内部调整的翌日,128最新的一条负面新闻宣称拉姆伯特炒掉了任职近三年的原sears总裁刘易斯。




It is in times of adversity that the truly great long-term investor earns his legendary status, by keeping his head while everyone else is losing theirs. That was certainly true of Mr Buffett, who has been falsely accused of losing his Midas Touch on several occasions—most recently during the dotcom bubble, when he was ridiculed as an out-of-touch old has-been for his adamant refusal to buy hot internet shares. He was proved right, of course. Will Mr Lampert similarly have the last laugh?


正是身处险境,人人都惊慌失措之时,真正伟大的长期投资者仍处变不惊,创造奇迹。股神巴菲特就是这样。很多次人们都说他失灵了,最近的一次是在网络泡沫之际,他固执的对炙手可热的网络股说不,引得人们把他嘲笑为落伍的老头子。当然事后证明他是对的。难道拉姆伯特会成为笑到最后的人?









Still only 45, he fell in love with investing aged ten at his grandmother's knee, discussing her shareholdings. When he was 14, the sudden death of his father apparently gave him the impetus to get into Yale and to thrive there. He worked as a researcher for James Tobin, a Nobel laureate in economics, became president of Phi Beta Kappa (an organisation with the motto “the love of learning is the guide of life”) and was admitted to the secretive Order of Skull and Bones. After graduating he joined Goldman Sachs and worked for Robert Rubin, later treasury secretary. When Mr Lampert said he wanted to quit, Mr Rubin told him he was giving up a golden career.


现年仅45岁的拉姆伯特10岁就迷上了投资。那时他在祖母跟前,常与祖母讨论她的股票。14岁时父亲的突然去世似乎给了他触动,促使他升入耶鲁大学并成绩斐然。在那,他为诺贝尔经济学获奖者詹姆士托宾当过研究员,做过优等生荣誉会phi Beta Kappa的主席(该组织座右铭是“哲学是生命的引导”),并加入秘密精英社团骷髅会。毕业后他进入高盛,成为罗伯特罗宾的助手。后者后来成为美国财政部长。当拉姆伯特将辞职想法告诉罗宾时,罗宾说他放弃的是锦绣前程。




Mr Lampert ignored him, and started ESL with $28m in seed capital and a plan to make long-term investments in temporarily undervalued companies. From the start, investors in ESL were required to lock up their money for five years, so that Mr Lampert could focus safely on the long term—unlike the hedge-fund managers with whom he is often bracketed, who typically have a one-year lock-up and thus a more short-term approach to investing. Mr Lampert had begun reading Mr Buffett's writings when at Goldman, and taught himself his idol's “value investing” philosophy by studying his greatest deals in forensic detail. The year after starting ESL he flew to Omaha for a 90-minute meeting with Mr Buffett in which he bombarded the Sage with questions about investing.


拉姆伯特并未动心,以2800万美元的种子资本开办了ESL,计划对市值暂时被低估的公司做长期投资。从一开始ESL就要求投资人做五年的固定投资,这样拉姆伯特就可以专注于做长期投资而毫无顾虑,而不像他的所谓同行对冲经理们通常只要求一年固定投资,投资途径也更偏向短期。拉姆伯特在高盛供职时就开始研读巴菲特的著作,通过仔细解剖巴菲特最成功的投资个案自学偶像的价值投资法。创建ESL后的一年,他飞往奥马哈与巴菲特进行了90分钟的会晤,向股神请教了许多关于投资的问题。




Yet there is one crucial philosophical difference between Mr Lampert and his hero. Mr Buffett is known for being hands-off in his dealings with the firms in which he invests; he buys companies that are well run but cheap, because they are temporarily out of fashion with other investors. Mr Lampert, by contrast, is happy to get his hands dirty by trying to improve companies that are undervalued because they are poorly run. That is the approach he took at the firms that became his first great successes—Autozone, a car-parts retailer, and AutoNation, a network of car dealers. It is what he is now trying to do at Sears, which he merged in 2005 with Kmart, another big retailer, which he had taken out of bankruptcy in 2003.


然而拉姆伯特与他偶像的投资理念有极大的不同。人所共知,巴菲特从不干预他所投资的公司运营情况,他买入股票的公司运营很好,但由于不受其他投资者青睐而价钱很低。拉姆伯特正相反。他乐意冒风险帮那些经营不善,市值很低的公司重整旗鼓。正是采取这样的策略,他最初在汽车部件零售商Autozone及汽车经销商AutoNation身上大举成功。现在他sears所尝试的也一样。2005年他把searskmart合并。Kmart也是家大型零售商,2003年拉姆伯特一手将它拉出破产边缘。




Mr Lampert's critics fall into two main camps: those who see Sears as inevitably doomed to go the way of the Titanic, and those who think he has made matters worse by micro-managing the company and starving it of capital. Mr Lampert readily admits mistakes, such as investing on the assumption that consumer demand would rebound in 2007 after softening in late 2006, and trying some things at Sears that have failed. He says there is no magic bullet.


拉姆伯特的批评者结成两大阵营。一方认为sears已无回天之力,另一方认为拉姆伯特参入公司具体管理,限制注入资本,只会搞得更糟糕。拉姆伯特倒欣然承认犯了些错误,例如投资基于一种想当然,即2006年消费需求疲软,2007年就会反弹,还有在sears做的一些努力无果。按他的话说,天下没有万良药。




Yet he denies micro-managing, insisting that critics have misconstrued his attempts to understand the details of the firm's operations. He insists on using capital carefully, but says this is not at the expense of investment that would have made a difference. “Sears hasn't been capital constrained, but idea and market opportunity constrained,” he says. His strategy has paid off in some respects by making Sears more profitable and giving it a stronger balance sheet, though sales have fallen.


然而他认为具体参与管理的做法没错,坚持说批评者对于他尝试了解sears具体经营细节的做法有所曲解。他坚持仔细打点资金的使用,并说这并没有妨碍把资金另作别的投资。他说:“sears的资金并不短缺,它缺的是新想法和市场机遇。”他的策略在某些方面很奏效,sears赢利增加,资产负债表良好,尽管销售额有所下降。




It could be worse


情况可能会更糟




The criticism would be easier to understand, he says, “if we were the only ones struggling, and everyone else was doing well.” But whilst Sears' share price has tumbled by nearly half since last summer, the shares of rivals such as J.C. Penney and Macy's have also plunged. And unlike them, Sears' shares are still worth ten times what they were when Mr Lampert invested in 2003.


他说,"如果别人都干得很好,只有我们身陷困境",那么针对他的批评会好理解一些。但是自从去年夏天sears股票跌落近一半的同时,它的竞争对手如J.Cpenney和梅西百货股票也有所回落。与它们不同的是,sears股票的股价仍然保持拉姆伯特2003年对它进行投资时的十倍。




These are all fair points, though judging by the steady stream of bad news about the American economy, things may get a lot worse for Sears, and for Mr Lampert's reputation, before they get better. Yet, as a long-term investor, he has time on his side—and it is his money, more than anyone else's, that is on the line. “Adversity has made me stronger in my business and personal life,” he says. “I don't doubt what we are trying to do.”


前面这些论据都有道理,尽管在事情好转之前,根据不断传来有关美国经济的负面消息判断,sears境况可能会更糟和拉姆伯特的名声也会遭受些损失。然而作为一位长期投资人,时间会对拉姆有利,但可能损失的资金也会比任何人都多。他说:“我的事业和人生会在逆境中变得更强,我从不怀疑我们当前的努力。”
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发表于 2010-4-29 03:56 | 显示全部楼层
译文质量不错,下面是一些我觉得可能值得商榷的地方
an organisation with the motto “the love of learning is the guide of life”
该组织座右铭是“哲学是生命的引导”
"love of learning"是对学问的热爱,而不是哲学吧?

and those who think he has made matters worse by micro-managing the company and starving it of capital.
另一方认为拉姆伯特参入公司具体管理,耗尽资本,只会搞得更糟糕。
"starving it of capital",是"耗尽"的意思吗?starve的意思是:
To cause to starve.
使挨饿
To force to a specified state by starving.
饿死:用饥饿的手段强迫达到某一特定状态

似乎没有消耗的意思? 根据这里的上下文判断,似乎拉姆伯在分配资本上故意没有给公司足够的资本,所以叫做"starving it of capital",而不是"消耗资本" ?不过我也不太确定


The criticism would be easier to understand, he says, “if we were the only ones struggling, and everyone else was doing well.”
"拉姆伯特说道“如果只有我们面临困境,别人应该干的很好才对。”这样的话批评应该不难理解。"
我认为这句话意思是:
他说,"如果别人都干得很好,只有我们身陷困境",那么针对他的批评会好理解一些。



These are all fair points, though judging by the steady stream of bad news about the American economy, things may get a lot worse for Sears, and for Mr Lampert's reputation, before they get better.
尽管根据不断传来有关美国经济的负面消息判断,在事情好转之前,sears境况可能会更糟和拉姆伯特的名声也会遭受些损失,这一切都明白无误。
"These are all fair points"不是"这一切都明白无误。"的意思,"These"指的是前面提到的论点,这段的意思是
"前面这些论据都有道理,尽管在事情好转之前,.....下同"


Yet, as a long-term investor, he has time on his side—and it is his money, more than anyone else's, that is on the line.
然而作为一位长期投资人,拉姆会比其他任何投资者投入更多的时间和钱。
"it is his money, more than anyone else's, that is on the line. "是强调句,"on the line"这个短语是"处于危险中的意思",而不是投入。
这句话的意思是:
然而作为一位长期投资者,时间站在他的一边(或者时间对他有利),而且他有可能损失的资金比任何人都多。
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发表于 2010-4-29 04:21 | 显示全部楼层
十分感谢你的校正,这几点也是我翻时反复琢磨的,
关于第一点 我在网上查到phi beta kappa 的中文专门介绍很少 但是这几个文字本身的意思就应该是句格言
“他是Phi Beta Kappa(这些是三个希腊字母ρ,β,γ的音读,Phi Beta Kappa是美国的一个荣誉团体的名称。该团体的格言是“哲学是人生的导引”,此格言由三个希腊词组成,每个词的第一个字母分别是Phi Beta Kappa,凡在大学学习成绩非常优异的沉重,被选入该团体作为成员――(译者注)的成员。” 取自http://www.ce.cn/new_hgjj/new-nobel/blsmes/index.shtml
所以我觉得应用哲学这句。

第二点我接受你的看法 我当时翻时就觉得和倒数第三段拉姆伯特说的话有些矛盾

第三点我理解的意思和你是相同的 但我的表达上欠妥 意思没说出来

第四点十分同意你的校正

第五点我也知道on the line是出于危险的意思, 但考虑了半天想不出合适翻法 ,看了你的译法,我才真正弄明白这句话的意思:L

真是太感谢你了 :handshake
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发表于 2010-4-29 04:46 | 显示全部楼层
Once dubbed the next Warren Buffett, Eddie Lampert is now being well and truly buffeted
引题这句用的双关语 我翻得也很牵强 不知大家怎么翻
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