Christian Leone and his fund Luxor Capital Group have disclosed in a couple of filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission boosting their activist position in BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:BJRI) to 11.3% of the company’s stock. According to the filings, Luxor acquired a total of around 456,700 shares of the company, raising the holding to over 3.20 million shares. The fund acquired the securities in several transactions on Monday and Tuesday, the prices varying from $33.97 to $35.08 per share.
The raise comes only a couple of weeks from the previous increase reported by Luxor. At the beginning of March, Mr. Leone’s fund reported ownership of some 2.75 million shares of BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:BJRI), up from 1.78 million disclosed previously. Back then, Luxor announced about signing an agreement with Patrick Welsh’s PW Partners Atlas Fund and Jeffrey C. Neal from Horizon Capital, the parties deciding to form an activist group and seek representation on the BJ’s board.
According to the latest filing, the aforementioned activist group holds a total of over 4.20 million shares, equal to 14.8% of the outstanding common stock. The aggregate holding also contains 102,000 shares underlying ‘Call’ options.
BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:BJRI) is an owner and operator of around 130 restaurants located in several U.S. states. Its stock has gained almost 11% year-to-date and trails a P/E of 47.xx, much higher than the industry average of approximately 29. For the previous year, the company showed a solid performance, with revenue advancing by around 9.4% on the year to $775.1 million and net income of $0.85 per share, slightly above the consensus estimate, but below the 2012 result of $1.12 per share. For the current quarter, the company is expected to post an EPS of $0.13 and revenues worth approximately $204 million. The stock of BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:BJRI) trades at almost 39 times its estimated earnings and has a Price/Earnings to Growth ratio of around 2.8.
Aside from Luxor, which initiated a position in BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ:BJRI) earlier this year, several ‘hedgies’ disclosed holding the stock in their 13F portfolios at the end of last year. One of the most bullish of them is Steven Cohen, with his fund SAC Capital Advisors boosting its position to 511,900 shares, up by 495,300 shares over the quarter. Billionaires Ken Griffin and Israel Englander also hold significant positions, with 1.20 million and 448,500 shares respectively.
In March, Luxor also disclosed initiating a stake in CONN’S, Inc. (NASDAQ:CONN), holding 5.6% of the company’s stock. In February, Mr. Leone and his fund added Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NXST) and CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. (NYSE:CBL) to the equity portfolio, reporting stakes of over 5% in each company.