Market-beating value investor Bill Nygren is long Facebook, GE

  • Oakmark's Bill Nygren said Facebook's recent decline makes its valuation much more attractive.
  • Facebook shares have dropped more than 11 percent over the past month on news that a political research firm was able to access the personal information of millions of Facebook users without their consent.
  • He also says he likes GE because of the approach he is taking to solving GE's problems.

A lot of investors are staying away from Facebook and General Electric these days, but not Oakmark's Bill Nygren.

In an interview with CNBC's "Halftime Report," Nygren said he likes the embattled social media company and the mired industrial giant. He said Facebook's recent decline makes its valuation much more attractive.

"Throughout Facebook's entire history as a public company, it's been valued as a high premium-PE multiple" Nygren said. "The question was: is it really as much of an above-average business as it needs to be to deserve that multiple?"

"The question today is whether Facebook is at least an average company and I think, given the growth rates, given the return on invested capital, it is very hard to [say] it doesn't deserve at least a market multiple," he said.

Facebook shares have dropped more than 11 percent over the past month on news that a political research firm was able to access the personal information of millions of Facebook users without their consent. Facebook is still up more than 17 percent over the past year, however. Nygren said he bought Facebook during the first quarter.

General Electric has also fallen more than 13 percent in the past month as the company undergoes a massive strategic review, evaluating which divisions to sell or keep. Over the past year, GE has lost more than half of its value.

However, Nygren says he likes GE because of the approach he is taking to solving GE's problems.

"Most CEOs are oriented toward trying to grow their kingdom. They don't want to think about spin-off; they don't want to think about divestitures," he said. "At Oakmark, we've always favored diversified companies looking to spin off unrelated businesses unless there's a compelling reason to own them."

"We very much like the process that Flannery is approaching this with the idea that the businesses ought to be separate unless there's a compelling reason to keep them together," Nygren noted.

Nygren joined Harris Associates, the investment advisor for Oakmark Funds, in 1983. He manages the firm's flagship Oakmark Fund, which has $19.4 billion in assets. His fund has outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 10 years and since inception through March.

Disclaimer

—CNBC's Tae Kim contributed to this report.