ESL Investments was founded by Edward Lampert in 1988 and since its inception the fund has managed an average annual return of 29%. ESL Investments focuses mainly on public equity and fixed income markets, but invests in exotic instruments as well. Lampert is an advocate for value investing, employing a fundamental analysis with bottom-up stock picking approach. According to the fund’s latest 13F filing, its equity portfolio consists mainly of retail companies and has a market value of roughly $2.26 billion, up 4.6% from the previous quarter.
As you probably have guessed, Lampert’s top equity position continues to be Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD), where he serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. ESL’s stake in the company has not suffered any changes during the second quarter and accounts for approximately 46.5% of the fund’s portfolio. According to the fund’s latest 13F filing, it holds 26.4 million Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) shares, valued at $1.05 billion. Bruce Berkowitz and his fund, Fairholme (Fairx), also hold a huge stake in Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD): 24.6 million shares worth approximately $985 million.
Although Lampert has been busy offloading AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN) shares, ESL Investments continues to hold a huge stake in the company. During the second quarter, Lampert has decreased his fund’s stake in the automotive retailer by 5%, leaving it with 11.8 million shares, which carry a value in excess of $705 million. AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN) is not among the favorites of Murray Stahl either. During the same period of time he has reduced his fund’s stake in the company by 4%. As a result, Horizon Asset Management now holds 4.8 million AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN) shares worth approximately $287 million.
Lampert has made one new addition to his portfolio: Lands’ End, Inc. (NASDAQ:LE), a retailer of casual clothing, accessories and footwear that went public in March, 2014. In its latest 13F filing, ESL Investments has reported the holding of 7.95 million shares which are valued at a little over $267 million. Lands’ End, Inc. (NASDAQ:LE) has also caught the attention of Cliff Asness, the manager of AQR Capital Management. During the same period of time Asness has built a position that amasses 630,764 Lands’ End, Inc. (NASDAQ:LE) shares worth roughly $21.2 million.