10 Activist Hedge Funds to Keep An Eye On

While hedge funds subscribe to many different investment philosophies, this space can be boiled down to two types of managers: the activists and the passivists. You’re probably more familiar with activist hedge fund managers. Carl Icahn, Jeff Ubben and Barry Rosenstein‘s Jana Partners are a few. Regarding the latter, passive investors are those who take a position in a company simply to benefit from potential appreciation, through growth, value or dividends.

Over the past week, most of the biggest hedge fund moves we’ve come across have been activist stakes. Here are the ten most important firms you should keep an eye on.

Jana Partners lowered its stake in Agrium Inc. (USA) (NYSE:AGU) to 2.7% of the company, but it still says it “may continue to take other steps seeking to bring about changes to increase shareholder value.”

The lesser-known Becker Drapkin Management strengthened its grip on freight and logistics company Pacer International, Inc. (NASDAQ:PACR) yesterday; it now holds 9.2% of all outstanding shares.

Eric Sprott‘s Sprott Asset Management established a 21.4% activist stake in Atna Resources Ltd (TSE:ATN), a Canadian mining company.

Sprott also disclosed a 28.8% stake in one of Atna’s peers, Veris Gold Corp (TSE:VG), yesterday.

Daniel Lewis’s Orange Capital reiterated that it holds 5% of PHH Corp (NYSE:PHH), and it sent a letter to management earlier this week encouraging one or more spinoffs.

James Mitarotonda’s activist hedge fund Barington Capital reported it now has Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) in its sights, and is seeking a split for growth reasons. The 2.8% stake was not reported to the SEC, rather, it was leaked to the Wall Street Journal.

Carl Icahn received a key board appointment at the long-held Enzon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENZN), which he will give to Icahn Capital managing director Jonathan Christodoro.

Michael Weinstock, a well respected activist who runs Monarch Alternative Capital, disclosed a massive 21.12% stake in Star Bulk Carriers Corp.(NASDAQ:SBLK). Interestingly, mega-investor Howard Marks has built a passive stake in the company of late.

Andrew Feldstein and Stephen Siderow

BlueMountain Capital upped its increasingly interesting bet on the post-bankruptcy fate of Eastman Kodak Company (OTCMKTS:EKDKQ) to 20% of the company.

Glenn Krevlin‘s Glenhill Advisors boosted its Yongye International stake, while sending a letter to Yongye International, Inc (NASDAQ:YONG)’s Board saying that he is concerned with the company’s low-ball (what is perceived by the fund) proposition to go private at $6.60 per share.

Last but certainly not least, Carl Icahn went activist on oil and gas producer Talisman Energy Inc. (USA) (NYSE:TLM). Read more about the move here.

Disclosure: none

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