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Monday Trending Stocks: Monsanto Company, LendingClub, Tribune Publishing and More

Markets opened lower on Monday due to a weakening dollar, declining oil prices and anxiety before the important speeches from Federal Reserve official scheduled this week. Some of the important stocks in the spotlight today are Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON), Tribune Publishing Co (NYSE:TPUB), Gannett Co Inc (NYSE:GCI), Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX) and LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC). Let’s see why these stocks are making headlines today and analyze what hedge funds think of each of them.

Academic research has shown that certain insider purchases historically outperformed the market by an average of seven percentage points per year. This effect is more pronounced in small-cap stocks. Another exception is the small-cap stock picks of hedge funds. Our research has shown that imitating the 15 most popular small-cap stocks among hedge funds outperformed the market by nearly a percentage point per month between 1999 and 2012 (read more details here).

Bayer AG Offers $62 Billion to Acquire Monsanto

Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) jumped by 5.48% so far today, after German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG made a $62 billion bid to acquire it. If the deal goes through, it would create the world’s biggest agricultural supplier. Last week, executives of both companies met to discuss the possible merger. In a statement, Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer, said that Monsanto is a “perfect match” for Bayer’s agricultural business. Bayer has made an offer for an all-cash deal, valuing Monsanto at $122 per share. As of the end of March, Larry Robbins’s Glenview Capital owns more than 11 million shares of Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON). Overall, 51 hedge funds from our system were long in Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) with positions worth approximately $2.45 billion at the end of March.

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Tribune Publishing Rejects Gannett’s Offer

Tribune Publishing Co (NYSE:TPUB)’s has plunged more than 13% after a Reuters report claimed that the company has rejected $864 million acquisition offer from Gannett Co Inc (NYSE:GCI). However, Tribune Publishing will give Gannett access to some of its corporate information, the source added. Gannett made a $15 per share offer to Tribune publishing after its $12.25 a share offer was rejected by the Chicago based media company. The source claimed that after the second rejection by Tribune, Gannett is not likely to put a higher offer. Shares of Gannett are up 0.81% today. At the end of the first quarter, Howard Marks’ Oaktree Capital Management had more than 4.6 million shares of Tribune Publishing Co (NYSE:TPUB). Only 10 hedge funds that we track reported positions in Tribune Publishing as of the end of March. On the other hand John W. Rogers’ Ariel Investments is one of the biggest shareholders of Gannett Co Inc (NYSE:GCI).

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On the next page, we will discuss the events behind the moves of Freeport-McMoRan and LendingClub.

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