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Tickers in this Article: TGT, WAG, RAD, AMEX:GST, CDR
Recent activist filings, taken from SEC documents November 5-11, reveal that investors continue to push for value by seeking change. The list of names is as diverse as the market itself and even includes a real estate play.

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Value In The Eye Of The Beholder
Ten different investors will seek and view investment value in 10 different ways. Activist positions should be viewed no differently except, of course, their willingness to own a significant amount of stock as well as putting forth the time, expense and energy to seek the change or approach needed to unlock value. For this very important reason, staying abreast of activist positions is a smart habit to keep.

Gastar Exploration (NYSE: GST) is 17% owned by Palo Alto Investors, who went from passive to active approaches to have a say on the oil and gas company's activities. The firm is currently the biggest shareholder in Gastar. The company looks good on paper: a $214 million market cap with $50 million in net cash and an EV of $164 million. Shares trade for approximately $4.50 against stated book value of $3.10 per share.

A Friendly Activist Position
In what clearly looks like a friendly activist position, Cedar Shopping Centers (NYSE: CDR) is now 15% owned by RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust. RioCan purchased its stake for $6 per share. In addition, RioCan owns 1.4 million warrants exercisable at $7 a share. Today, Cedar's shares sit at $5.88, giving investors the opportunity to buy below RioCan's cost. In terms of real estate, Cedar's business may be one of the better-suited areas of the commercial real estate business. The company owns and develops shopping centers anchored by large supermarkets. (For more, see Activist Investors: A Good Or Bad Thing?)

As recently as November 4, the company's centers opened two new supermarkets and signed another supermarket lease. To give you an idea of the resilience of this real estate business area, one of the shopping centers is a 125,000-square-foot center anchored by a Giant Food Stores Supermarket. Other tenants include a Subway sandwich shop, Supercuts hair salon and separate gas station. More than 90% of the property is leased.

In addition, some of Cedar's other principal tenants in its various shopping centers include Target (NYSE: TGT), Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) and Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD). Cedar's market cap is $263 million and debt is $1.1 billion, most of which doesn't come due until after 2013. Stated book value per share is $10, which in a normal environment may be undervalued due to Cedar's land ownership. Cedar operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT), and as such, it attracts many investors due to the yield. That yield was suspended recently, which naturally concerns and frightens many investors. The result is a sell-off in the stock, which can lead to a long-term bargain - clearly what RioCan thinks.

Bottom Line
Activist investing does not guarantee investment success, but in either case it usually requires patience from investors. Always consider the pros and cons before getting on board. (For more, see Activist Hedge Funds.)

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