Not really buying the argument that they're like a mutual fund and both have similar "bad" choices.
IMO, ACAS is similar to a star poker player that has all the tools/moves in their toolbox. They do venture, private equity, buyouts, and offer all of the more sophisitcated debt and equity instruments/products/services.
I'm long on ACAS, and even though I know this company & some employees, my two big concerns are: 1) I don't know a single person who is a) happy at ACAS and b) thinks highly of thier mgmt. This point is based on ~20 people. 2) I see them making lots of investments and being involved in a lot of deals, but this # is significantly higher than thier exits. In the long run, I hope thier portfolio-theory approach and massive vault yields a few monsters.
>I don't know a single person who is (a) happy at ACAS and (b) thinks highly of thier mgmt.<
When I first invested in ACAS 9 years ago, I think they had something like 12 people. Now they have what, 500 people or something like that. Growth always causes a lot of problems. The company I work for has gone from 20 employees when I joined 10 years ago to about 200 now, and I hear a lot of griping and see a lot of disfunctional behavior, but it is mostly because things have to be reorganized as the company grows, responsibilities change, and people get on each other's nerves. Yeah I liked the family aspect when I joined and now the company is, well, just a company where I don't know most of the people anymore. So are your friends gripes about ACAS any more than that?
I feel most of the complaints result from people being type-A go-getters who are rarely going to be happy/satisfied. In general, they'll want more money, more responsibilities and faster promotions regardless. While this type of employee isn't unique to ACap, the complaining aspect is (at least in my experiences) - maybe it's b/c the co is public, they're very diversified, or it's a cultural thing. I don't know.
Other potential influcense: 1) at ACap, it's a long, long road to become a big fish coupled w/ the fact that the biggest fish at top ponds are bigger and more respected that the top people at Acap. 2) lastly, I think there is a little bit of "my group is the most important", which is tough when there are so many groups.
Definitely do not get any sense of a "family vibe"
I'm also reiterating that the above points are simply my opinions based on my relationship w/ ACap employees. In the spirit of disclosure, I own the stock and my current plan is to be a long-term investor.