Meanwhile, on the back of a definitive merger agreement between New York Community Bancorp (NYSE:NYCB) and Astoria Financial Corporation (NYSE:AF), Matthew Lindenbaum‘s Basswood Capital has reduced its stake in Astoria, which it holds with affiliated funds, by about 2.44 million shares to 6.85 million shares. The holding now amasses nearly 6.8% of the company’s outstanding shares.
Basswood has held a stake in Astoria Financial Corporation (NYSE:AF) since the fourth quarter of 2004. The company’s principal business, Astoria Bank invests retail deposits primarily in mortgage loans. Hence, it is understandable why the stock took a huge hit during the last financial crises. However, so far this year the stock has appreciated by nearly 22%. The recently announced merger deal is valued at about $2 billion. Each shareholder of Astoria is expected to receive $0.50 in cash and one New York Community Bancorp (NYSE:NYCB) share at the merger date in exchange for each of their Astoria shares. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2016. Renowned managed futures fund Citadel Investment Group, which is managed by Ken Griffin, held about 5.4 million shares of Astoria Financial Corporation (NYSE:AF) at the end of the second quarter.
According to a recent filing, Cascade Investment, which is manged by Michael Larson (also the manager of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust) and is also Bill Gates’ investment arm, further increased its stake in Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG) by about 4.5% to 108.80 million shares, representing a hefty 31.3% of the company’s outstanding stock. The current move is part of an array of bullish behaviour that Cascade has been showing towards Republic Services.
The $15.25 billion waste management company has seen its stock price surge by more than 9% so far this year. In its financial results for the third quarter, Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG) delivered top and bottom line figures which were consistent with the recently raised guidance. Quarterly revenues increased by 3.4% on a year-over-year basis to $2.34 billion. While the pricing increased by 2.5%, volume grew by 0.6% during this period. However, the company did experience some weakness in its recycling business and expenses also increased in connection with the company’s recent acquisitions. However, the lower fuel costs took some weight off these factors. Mario Gabelli‘s GAMCO Investors is the largest stockholder of Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG) within our database, holding more than 3.2 million shares at the end of June.