Would I follow this billionaire's lead and buy Star shares amid the turmoil?

Should we follow the billionaire who's 'buying-the-dip'?

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The recent woes of Star Entertainment Group Ltd (ASX: SGR) shares have been a well-publicised debacle over the past few weeks and months.

Earlier this week, we chronicled how the Star share price hit a new all-time record low of 47.8 cents per share. Well, that wasn't as low as it went for Star. We've since seen the company descend as low as 41 cents per share this week.

You can understand investors' reluctance to stick with the embattled gaming stock. As my Fool colleague Mitchell went through on Tuesday, Star is currently in the midst of a second inquiry over its capability of holding a casino license in the state of New South Wales. This obviously goes to the heart of whether this company can continue to even function going forward.

However, one ASX investor is taking the opportunity to buy the dip, in a big way too.

According to an ASX filing, billionaire pub baron Bruce Mathieson has dramatically increased his stake in Star shares. The filing shows Mathieson, through a trust, has made several large purchases of Star shares between 12 April and 17 April. The purchasing price of these buys ranged from 41.83 and 50.58 cents per share.

These purchases take Mathieson's stake in Star from 235.4 million shares (or 8.21% of Star's voting power) to 275 million shares (9.59%). These buys would have set Mathieson back around $18.5 million.

Billionaire investors' buys and sells are often closely watched on the share market for obvious reasons – people assume that because they have a high level of wealth, they know how to make more of it.

So will I be following Mathieson's lead and buying the dip here?

Am I following this billionaire by buying Star shares?

Well, the answer is a hard 'no'. I wasn't buying Star shares before, and I certainly am not buying them now.

When investing in a company, the first thing I look for is certainty and financial stability. After all, Warren Buffett's famous first (and second) rule of investing is 'don't lose money'.

Star is a company with its very future in question. If the current inquiry rules that the company is not fit to hold casino licenses in NSW, then there is a strong chance of permanent capital loss from an investment today. Imagine if Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) lost its banking license.

Now Mathieson is obviously an expert in the pubs and gaming space. Perhaps he knows something we don't about Star. This week's buys could well prove to be a savvy investment in hindsight.

But that's him, not me. Mathieson could be buying Star shares for any number of reasons. Perhaps it's a tax decision. Perhaps it's a swing trade.

Whatever his plan is, I'm not privy to it. As such, if I were to buy Star shares just to follow him, it could end up burning me if our interests diverge.

Foolish takeaway

I am not an expert in pubs, the service industry, casinos or gaming. As a result, I don't believe I have any business buying a company I don't understand very well, even if a famous billionaire is doing so. Most people who get rich from the share market don't do so by copying random moves by billionaire investors.

Another Buffett quote comes to mind: "I don't look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over".

Star shares look an awfully lot taller than a one-foot bar to me right now. So I won't be trying to jump over this one. In my view, there are far shorter bars out there for me to take a look at today.

Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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