When I say that David Dreman wrote the book on contrarian investing, I mean that quite literally. The sometime author and full-time fund manager has made a career of going against the crowd. I thought it would be interesting to look at some of his recently reported buys, which in many cases are not highly ranked by our Motley Fool CAPS community. By considering what Dreman might see, perhaps we'll uncover some value amid the sea of red thumbs.

I don't want to imply that Dreman is completely at odds with CAPS players. His two largest holdings, Altria (NYSE:MO) and ConocoPhilips (NYSE:COP), are both rated five stars, which is as good as it gets in CAPS Land. Nevertheless, a few of his new positions may leave some of us scratching our heads:


Price/Tangible Book


CAPS Rating

Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM)




Dell (NASDAQ:DELL)          




General Motors (NYSE:GM)








Motorola (NYSE:MOT)




Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S)




We're certainly living in strange times when tech names dominate a list of value buys, but so goes the adage: Once bitten, twice shy. Are they really that attractively priced?

Many of these stocks went through the roof during the tech/telecom bubble, so it's not particularly useful to look at present valuations versus past ones, which were insane. Sure, Broadcom used to trade at more than 200 times EBITDA -- a proxy for cash flows -- but does that mean it's cheap at 20 times EBITDA? Unless the company is poised for some explosive growth, I just can't see the appeal.

Sprint Nextel seems more reasonably priced, even after running up significantly since the beginning of the year. The company's recent merger has been very rocky, and a recent piece by fellow Fool Dave Mock outlines a lot of the company's present operational issues. While Dave mentioned the flat sales and negative GAAP profits, I would note the greater than 50% rise in free cash flow over the prior year. In addition to the company's cash-generating prowess, some CAPS dwellers point to two other, more strategic elements to the bull case for Sprint Nextel: its wireless spectrum ownership and WiMAX positioning. ronbeasley actually hit all three points in his pitch:

Sprint Nextel is developing an extensive WiMax network that will begin operating in 2008, and will create a new level of wireless interconnectivity. Its cash flow from existing wireless business is substantial, as is the value of its wireless spectrum. Both of these factors should mitigate downside risk.

Unfortunately, private equity activity has the rumor mill churning about a possible Sprint Nextel buyout. In any other year, a $90 billion-$100 billion buyout would have been unthinkable. But even the chance of such a deal occurring has the shares sitting at a 52-week high. If the stock pulls back to the upper teens, it starts to look very attractive. For now, I'd have to recommend putting Sprint on hold.

Related Foolishness:

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Dell has been recommended by both Inside Value and Stock Advisor.

Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't own shares in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.