Funds, Insiders and Big Financial Firms Are Betting on Staples, Inc. (SPLS)

Over the past few weeks, Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS), the $7.83 billion market cap famed office products company, saw two insiders buy its stock. Most recently (April 3rd), Ronald Sargent Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, acquired 8,500 shares of the company, for prices ranging from $11.79 to $11.85 per share (about $11.82 per share, in average). Following the reported transaction, Mr. Sargent declared to own more than 1.64 million shares indirectly, plus 558,011 shares, directly. His stakes at the company are now worth more than $26 million.

The other insider that bought the stock lately is Shira Goodman, President at the company’s North American Commercial (NAC) segment. On March 20th, Mrs. Goodman acquired 5,000 shares of Common Stock for $11.436 per share. Her holdings now amount to 80,607 shares held through a trust and an extra 64,577 shares, held directly.

Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS)

However, it is not only insiders that are betting on Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS). More than 40 of the major hedge funds that we keep track of hold long positions in the company. I should highlight Richard S. Pzena‘s Pzena Investment Management, which owns more than 29 million shares of the company, and Ric Dillon‘s Diamond Hill Capital, which recently upped its stakes by 2%, to more than 8 million shares.  Furthermore, Russell Hawkins‘ Hawkins Capital holds about 6.5 million shares of the company, which account for roughly 13.5% of the total value of its equity portfolio.

Other prominent investors with millionaire stakes in the company that are worth mentioning are Ken Griffin, Chuck Royce and Jim Simons. Moreover, BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK), a $52 billion market cap investment management firm, recently disclosed holding more than 54 million shares of the company. Vanguard Group Inc., the world’s largest mutual fund company, with about $2.4 trillion invested in the U.S. in more than 170 index, active, and exchange-traded funds, also recently declared holding more than 44 million shares of the company. Finally, FMR LLC, a financial services conglomerate that which owns Fidelity Investments, one of the world’s largest mutual fund firms, and manages nearly 500 funds (boasting some $4.2 trillion in assets under administration, including managed assets of $1.8 trillion), recently increased its stakes by almost 2 million shares, to roughly 59 million.

Although the company boasts on-average margins and returns and its growth prospects are not so attractive, its valuation at 11.4 times the company’s earnings (less than 1/3 of its industry´s average valuation), low debt levels, 3.95% dividend yield and somewhat stable (established, industry leading) business make all of the aforementioned investments comprehensible.

Disclosure: Javier Hasse holds no position in any stocks mentioned

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