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Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO), Office Depot Inc (ODP): Activist Starboard Value’s Top Picks, Plus Latest Move In Tessera Technologies, Inc. (TSRA)

Since the IPO of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), Yahoo was able to gain more and more attention from investors due to the significant hidden value from its equity stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant. At the end of 2014, 99 funds from our database held shares of Yahoo, up from 94 in the previous quarter. Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) was also one of the favorite stocks among billionaires, with 12 funds disclosing long positions. Christian Leone’s Luxor Capital Group was one of the funds that initiated a stake in Yahoo during the October-December period, disclosing 9.22 million shares in its latest 13F. In addition, billionaires Ken Griffin, George Soros, and David Shaw are also among the shareholders of Yahoo.

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The next two companies should be discussed together as they are Office Depot Inc (NASDAQ:ODP) and Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS), which have recently announced their intention to combine into one big specialty retailer. Starboard initiated a stake in Staples and disclosed 15.84 million shares in its latest 13F and it trimmed its stake in Office Depot Inc (NASDAQ:ODP) by 5% to 44.21 million shares. The fund’s activist stakes in Office Depot Inc (NASDAQ:ODP) and Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) are valued at $379.12 million and $286.96 million respectively. The rumors about Mr. Smith pushing for a merger between the two office supplies retailers started to appear after the investor reported two bullish moves in both companies last year. A merger is seen by many as a positive development, as specialty retailers need to compete with large commerce giants like Wal-Mart and Amazon that capture more clients by offering a larger range of products.

Tessera Technologies, the company in which Starboard has recently reported reducing its position, was the sixth-largest holding in the fund’s 13F portfolio at the end of December. Previous to its latest transactions, Starboard has also unloaded 1.0 million shares during the last quarter of 2014. Even though Starboard has been unloading shares, its representative Peter A. Feld continues to serve as a director on Tessera Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSRA)’s board.

Disclosure: None