Founded in 2001, JANA Partners is led by billionaire Barry Rosenstein, along with co-portfolio managers David DiDomenico and Scott Ostfeld. It is a value-oriented and event-driven hedge fund that invests in companies undergoing or expected to undergo change. JANA Partners buys large stakes in companies and then pushes them to restructure, leading to value accretion for investors. Recent performance by the hedge fund has not been up to the mark, with the fund losing 4.1% during the first seven months of 2016, as reported by Fortune. It was also down by 5.4% in 2015. Despite these setbacks, JANA Partners says that it will stick to its core strategy and believes that it will prove to be the right one over the long-term.
The latest 13F filed by the fund showed that it had major holdings in the consumer, healthcare, industrial, and IT sectors. The filing also disclosed new stock purchases in 19 companies, while it exited 23 positions during the October-December period. The fund’s 13F portfolio value declined by a mere $7 million quarter-over-quarter, to $5.70 billion. In this article we’ll look at some of the top purchases and sales made by one of the 140 Biggest and Most Famous Activist Hedge Funds during the previous quarter.
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Though Barry Rosenstein sold 5.07 million shares of Conagra Brands Inc. (NYSE:CAG) in the fourth quarter, it was still the fund’s largest holding at the end of December, consisting of 17.78 million shares worth $703 million. Activist Dan Loeb’s Third Point LLC also decreased its position in the stock by 2.46 million shares to a total of 3 million as of the end of the last quarter. The selling in the company’s shares could be due to the poor stock performance, as shares have fallen by 5% over the last year. Conagra Brands Inc. (NYSE:CAG) is one of the world’s largest food producers, owning top food consumer brands such as Healthy Choice, Slim Jim, and Egg Beaters. For the full 2017 year, the Company expects net sales to decrease by 4%-5% and adjusted earnings to come in between $1.65 and $1.70 per share. The company is also focusing on evolving its portfolio to meet the changing food preferences of people. As per our database, the number of funds long Conagra Brands Inc. (NYSE:CAG) decreased by eight in the fourth quarter to 42, while the value of their holdings also declined to $1.89 billion from $2.74 billion during the quarter.
JANA Partners more than doubled its holding in HD Supply Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:HDS) in the final quarter of 2016, buying 6.17 million shares to hold 14.5 million shares worth $616 million at the end of the year. This made the industrial distributor the second-largest holding of Barry Rosenstein & Co. and gave the fund 7.2% equity ownership of HD Supply Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:HDS). Other top buyers of the stock in Q4 were Third Point, Suvretta Capital Management and Millennium Management. HD Supply Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:HDS) operates in the water infrastructure, residential and non-residential construction sectors and has more than 500,000 customers. The stock has been on a roll, with its price increasing by 65% over the last year, and the industrial sector is expected to do well under the new business-friendly Republican administration, so further share price appreciation could be in store. The company recently announced the appointment of Brad Cowles as its Chief Operating Officer (COO). At the end of December, shares worth $2.49 billion were held by 55 funds that we track, a big jump from just 40 funds a quarter earlier.
On the next page we’ll check out three more big moves made by JANA Partners in the fourth quarter.