John W. Rogers’ Ariel Investments disclosed on Monday significant increases in its holdings in Rubicon Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:RBCN) and Qumu Corp (NASDAQ:QUMU). After the acquisition of approximately 1.5 million shares of Rubicon Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:RBCN) and 414,719 shares of Qumu Corp (NASDAQ:QUMU), Ariel Investments owns 3.61 million shares and 989,456 shares, respectively (representing 13.8% and 11.3% of the companies’ Common Stock, correspondingly).
Ariel Investments is a Chicago-based employee-owned investment manager founded in 1983. It invests, primarily, in value stocks, mispriced companies whose true value will be realized over time. According to the firm itself, Ariel manages about $9.0 billion in assets, and has a diversified equity portfolio (with a focus on consumer discretionary and financial stocks), worth more than $8.1 billion (as of June 30, 2014). Before launching Ariel, John W. Rogers worked as a stockbroker for 2.5 years at William Blair & Company, LLC. When he started his own investment company, the sole major account he had was the $100,000 worth of Howard University’s endowment fund. However, in the period comprised between 1983 and 1986, Ariel’s managed assets rose to $45 million.
Rubicon Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:RBCN) is a $113.75 million market cap electronic materials provider that develops, manufactures and sells monocrystalline sapphire and other innovative crystalline products for LEDs, RFICs, blue laser diodes, optoelectronics and other optical applications. Ariel Investments’ 3.61 million shares make it the largest institutional shareholder, amongst those we track, in the company. Another major fund betting on this company is Chuck Royce’s Royce & Associates, which disclosed ownership of 1.63 million shares by the end of the second quarter of the year.
I should mention that Ariel Investments had already augmented its exposure to Rubicon Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:RBCN) during the third quarter. In early-September, the fund declared having purchased 763,640 shares of the company, taking its holding to 2.11 million shares.
Rubicon Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:RBCN) is down more than 56% year-to-date, and just recently released its third quarter results (not very good ones, but still beating estimates). According to a Press Release, “The Company reported third quarter revenue of $8.0 million, at the low end of their guidance range. Revenue declined by $6.5 million sequentially, of which $5.5 million was attributable to lower two-inch core sales in the period. With the LED market migrating from two-inch to four-inch substrates, much of the remaining two-inch demand comes from the mobile device market (…) GAAP loss per share in the third quarter was $0.53 and included certain non-cash charges, the majority of which were associated with changes made to the Company’s polishing platform in order to reduce product costs.”
Qumu Corp (NASDAQ:QUMU) is a $132.12 million market cap provider of enterprise video content management software used to create, manage, secure, distribute and measure the success of videos. Once again, Ariel Investments is the largest institutional shareholder, with 989,456 shares of Common Stock, trailed by Gregory A. Weaver’s Invicta Capital Management, which acknowledged holding 859,725 shares by the end of the second quarter.
In addition to these companies, John W. Rogers seems bullish on Bristow Group Inc (NYSE:BRS). Also in early-September, he purchased 668,112 shares of the company, boosting his exposure to 3.72 million shares or 10.5% of the Bristow Group Inc (NYSE:BRS)’s common stock.
Disclosure: Javier Hasse holds no positions in any stocks or funds mentioned
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