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Green Plains Inc (GPRE), Apple Inc. (AAPL): Ken Griffin’s Latest Moves and Massive Put Position

As two new filings with the SEC showed, Ken Griffin’s Citadel Advisors has disclosed raising its passive stakes in two companies: Servicemaster Global Holdings Inc (NYSE:SERV) and Green Plains Inc (NASDAQ:GPRE). In Servicemaster, Citadel Advisors has increased its stake to 6.92 million shares, giving it ownership of 5.1% of common stock, while in Green Plainsthe fund has built a 5.3% position with 1.99 million shares. Lastly, we’ll consider the fund’s largest portfolio position heading into 2015, a hedge play against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).


Self-made billionaire Ken Griffin founded Citadel Investment Group in 1990, and has been running one of the most successful hedge funds in the world ever since. The massive, diversified portfolio of the fund is the result of a combination of quantitative analysis and fundamental research, which includes utilizing statistical models to identify trends in equity markets. From there, the fund uses a bottom-up approach to identifying under-performing stocks in target sectors.

In Servicemaster Global Holdings Inc (NYSE:SERV), Griffin’s 6.92 million shares has more than doubled his position in the company from his previously reported 3.29 million shares. Servicemaster operates a number of different residential services brands including Terminix for pest control, Merry Maids for home cleaning, and American Home Shield, a provider of home warranties. Since its IPO in June, 2014, shares of the company have nearly doubled, up by 95.82%. This year the strong trend has continued, as shares gained  31.3% year-to-date. Jeffrey Gates’ Gates Capital Management is another hedge fund that has taken interest in the company, opening a new position of 1.44 million shares last quarter.

In Green Plains Inc (NASDAQ:GPRE), Griffin has upped his position to 1.99 million shares from 1.44 million shares he held at the end of 2014. The purchases continue a trend of increasing ownership of Green Plains by Citadel, which has steadily been increasing its position over the past few quarters. There has been some major investor activity around this stock at the end of 2014, with Jason Karp’s Tourbillon Capital Partners initiating a stake with 1.25 million shares, while Jason Capello’s Merchants’ Gate Capital sold off its entire position of 1.95 million shares as the fund closed its equity portfolio at the end of last year.

Green Plains has slumped considerably along with weakening oil prices, shedding nearly 50% of its value since its highs of last summer. The company runs a number of segments within the ethanol sector, including grain handling and storage, the production of ethanol and corn oil, and marketing and distribution for its other segments. Despite record operating income of $286 million announced in February, and the expectation that oil prices are on the verge of rebounding, shares in Green Plains are still down 5.33% year-to-date.

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