Lioneye Capital Management Further Increases Stake In Asbury Automotive Group Inc (ABG)

Does Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG) still have some upside potential? Stephen V. Raneri, the manager of LionEye Capital Management, seems to think so, having again boosted his investment in the company. As reported in a 13D filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the fund now holds roughly 2.58 million shares of the company, which account for 9.7% of its outstanding common stock. According to LionEye Capital’s latest 13F filing, the fund also held 175,200 shares underlying call options as of March 31. The fund previously held 2.33 million shares of Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG) according to its previous 13D filing, submitted on May 5.


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Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG) is a US automotive retailer that provides a wide range of services, including vehicle sales and maintenance, insurance, and services contracts. Financially, the company has been thriving in the recent past, reporting revenues of $1.69 billion, up 12% year-over-year, and earnings per share of $1.52 for the second quarter of 2015. The stock has followed suit and appreciated by 11.5% so far this year. Asbury’s good financial performance has paved the way for high expectations for the third quarter of 2015, with analysts expecting $1.66 billion in revenues and $1.43 in earnings per share. Among the hedge funds we track, Glenn Fuhrman and John Phelan, the managers of MSD Capital, held the biggest investment in Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG) as of March 31, holding 2.22 million shares (which LionEye has since surpassed). Ricky Sandler of Eminence Capital is also a fan of this company, having boosted his stake by 11% during the first quarter to 1.94 million shares.

In a report dated July 23, Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG) announced its plan to build two new Nissan and Infiniti dealerships in a former GM plant site in Atlanta, which are expected to open in 2016.

“So we are really pleased about the location and the opportunity…  We think it’s probably one of the highest trafficked corridors in the city. We are really pleased about this project. We have a great partnership with Nissan and Infiniti, and we are really pleased to grow our business with them,” said George Karolis, vice president of corporate development and real estate.

Stephen Raneri’s portfolio has a market value of $2.5 billion as of March 31, and is well diversified in a variety of sectors. Aside from Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:ABG), Ranieri is also heavily invested in Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) having more than doubled his investment in the company during the first quarter of 2015. LionEye Capital holds 1.83 million shares of the tech giant, as reported in the fund’s latest 13F filing. Famous Dave’s of America, Inc. (NASDAQ:DAVE) is a stock Ranieri has been unable to stop buying, despite its significant decline in value. The latest addition was at the end of June, and took LionEye Capital’s holding of the stock to 1.04 million shares or 15% of the company’s common stock.

Disclosure: None