Akanthos Capital Management Betting Big on These Stocks for 2016

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Established in 2002, Michael Kao‘s Woodland Hills, California-based Akanthos Capital has about $1.23 billion worth of assets under management. Only a fraction of those assets are invested in the public equity markets, as according to the fund’s latest 13F filing, the market value of its public equity portfolio stands at just $48.54 million, with much of that total being invested in healthcare, finance, and energy stocks. Akanthos’ thematic portfolio construction means that it also invests in securities which have a low correlation with major equity and hedge fund indices. In this article we are going to take a look at the firm’s top equity picks for 2016.

We track prominent investors and hedge funds because our research has shown that historically their stock picks delivered superior risk-adjusted returns. This is especially true in the small-cap space. The 15 most popular small-cap stocks among a select group of investors delivered a monthly alpha of 80 basis points between 1999 and 2012. This means investors would have generated 10 percentage points of alpha per year simply by imitating hedge funds’ top 15 small-cap ideas (see the details here).

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#5 Ocwen Financial Corp (NYSE:OCN)

 – Shares Owned by Akanthos Capital (as of December 31): 525,000

 – Value of Holding (as of December 31): $3.66 Million

Akanthos Capital slightly decreased its stake in the $690.35 million financial services holding company during the October-to-December period, by 1%. The holding represents about 7.54% of the fund’s equity portfolio. In the last 12 months Ocwen Financial Corp (NYSE:OCN)’s stock price has plunged by a staggering 43.6% while the retail and mortgage banks industry has gained over 13% during the same period. The company has been hit by a number of scandals recently, leading to a restatement of its earnings from the final three quarters of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. In December, Ocwen reached a $150 million settlement with New York’s Department of Financial Services and just last month it agreed to pay $2 million to settle SEC claims that it relied on valuations from a related party when it came to the company’s mortgage assets. Michael Blitzer‘s Kingstown Capital Management is the largest stockholder of Ocwen Financial Corp (NYSE:OCN) among the investors that we track, as it held 12.5 million shares of the company at the end of the fourth quarter.


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#4 Brookdale Senior Living, Inc. (NYSE:BKD)

 – Shares Owned by Akanthos Capital (as of December 31): 200,000

 – Value of Holding (as of December 31): $3.69 Million

During the fourth quarter, Akanthos upped its stake in Brookdale Senior Living, Inc. (NYSE:BKD) by 11%. The firm initiated its stake in the $2.11 billion operator of more than 1,100 senior living communities during the second quarter. The company’s stock has cratered by more than 68% during the last year, while the residential & long term care industry has slid by more than 20% on average in the same period. Investors were disappointed by the company’s fourth quarter financial results on account of a lower year-over-year occupancy rate, which was down by 150 basis points to 86.8%. Moreover Brookdale’s Cash From Facility Operations guidance range of $2.45-to-$2.55 for 2016 also fell below analysts’ expectations of $2.62. Glenview Capital, managed by Larry Robbins, held more than 18.14 million shares of Brookdale Senior Living, Inc. (NYSE:BKD) at the end of the fourth quarter.

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