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Is Alliance Bancorp Inc of Pennsylvania (ALLB) A Slam-Dunk Merger?

Yakira Capital Management, Inc. has revealed through a Schedule 13G filing that it owns 209,975 shares of Alliance Bancorp Inc of Pennsylvania (NASDAQ:ALLB), a 5.21% stake in the savings and loan company. This is an increase of 115,000 shares since the end of March, following the announcement in early March that the company would be acquired by WSFS Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WSFS).

Yakira Capital Management Inc, Alliance Bancorp Inc of Pennsylvania (ALLB), NASDAQ:ALLB, Loews Corporation (L), NYSE:L, Family Dollar Stores Inc (FDO), NYSE:FDO, DIRECTV (DTV), NASDAQ:DTV, 13G, Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, Mitchell Julis, Joshua Friedman, Canyon Capital Advisors, David Harding, Winton Capital Management, Yahoo Finance,

We don’t just track the latest moves of funds. We are, in fact, more interested in their 13F filings, which we use to determine the top 15 small-cap stocks held by the funds we track. We gather and share this information based on 16 years of research, with backtests for the period between 1999 and 2012 and forward testing for the last 2.5 years. The results of our analysis show that these 15 most popular small-cap picks have a great potential to outperform the market, beating the S&P 500 Total Return Index by nearly one percentage point per month in backtests. Moreover, since the beginning of forward testing in August 2012, the strategy worked brilliantly, outperforming the market every year and returning 144%, which is more than 84 percentage points higher than the returns of the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) (see more details).

The latest purchase continues the bullish sentiment on the stock from Yakira, which purchased 94,975 shares of the financial institution during the first quarter and shows clear confidence in the completion of the firm’s pending merger. Alliance Bancorp Inc of Pennsylvania (NASDAQ:ALLB) saw a spike in its share price in March after it and WSFS Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WSFS) announced that they entered into a definitive agreement which will see the latter acquire the former. When the acquisition is completed, Alliance Bank, the wholly-owned bank subsidiary of Alliance Bancorp Inc of Pennsylvania, which opened in 1938 will be merged into WSFS Bank, WSFS Financial Corporation’s own wholly-owned bank subsidiary. Alliance Bancorp Inc of Pennsylvania (NASDAQ:ALLB)’s share price has increased 27.56% year-to-date, which can be seen as bolstering Yakira Capital Management, Inc.’s positive outlook on the company.

In the three-month period ending March 31, hedge fund Firefly Value Partners managed by Ryan Heslop and Ariel Warszawski decreased its position in Alliance Bancorp Inc of Pennsylvania (NASDAQ:ALLB) by 43% quarter-over-quarter to 175,427 shares. In the same period, Springbook Capital managed by Gavin Saitowitz and Cisco J. Del Valle added the Pennsylvania-based company to its portfolio, with a position of 7,000 shares. However, Chuck Royce’s Royce & Associates exited its position in Alliance Bancorp Inc of Pennsylvania (NASDAQ:ALLB) during the first quarter of the year. Royce & Associates owned 40,162 shares of the company at the end of the fourth quarter of 2014.

As for other companies Yakira Capital Management, Inc. is bullish on, they include Loews Corporation (NYSE:L), Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO), and DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV), the latter two of which are merger plays of their own. Yakira Capital Management, Inc. increased its stake in Loews Corporation (NYSE:L) to 211,000 shares worth about $8.61 million by the end of the first quarter, from 117,916 shares, a bullish bet on the commercial property and casualty insurance company, whose stock is down 7% year-to-date. David Harding’s Winton Capital Management is another bullish firm on Loews Corporation (NYSE:L) as the hedge fund increased its stake in the insurance company by 801% quarter-over-quarter to end the first quarter of 2015 with 346,081 shares.

Yakira Capital Management, Inc. is also bullish on Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO), as the hedge fund added the company to its portfolio during the first quarter of the year. Yakira Capital Management bought 92,621 Family Dollar Stores shares worth about $7.34 million during the period. Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO)’s shares are down 1.15% year-to-date. Canyon Capital Advisors managed by Joshua Friedman and Mitchell Julis is another shareholder of Family Dollar Stores, Inc. The hedge fund added the firm to its portfolio during the first quarter as well, as it awaits the completion of its merger with Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ:DLTR), expected to occur next month.

In the case of DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV), Yakira Capital Management owned 81,200 shares of the digital television company worth about $6.91 million at the end of the first quarter of 2015, an increase of over 15,000 shares. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns a much larger stake of 31.35 million shares of DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV), which is awaiting regulatory approval for its proposed merger with AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T).

Disclosure: None

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