Activist Filings This Week

By Sham Gad | December 04, 2011 AAA

The holiday season may be down time for the overall stock market, but activist investors are indifferent to time. What matters is opportunity. And one of the kings of activist investing, Carl Icahn continues to roar ahead trying to create his own opportunities.

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Headline Maker
Whether he fails, as in the case of Clorox (NYSE:CLX) or succeeds, Carl Icahn's investing moves make headlines. Last week, Icahn's latest news topper was his intent to buy Commercial Metals (NYSE:CMC) for $15 a share, or a 31% premium at the time the deal was announced. Icahn owns nearly 10% of the company and is quite dissatisfied with the track record of current management. Shares in CMC currently trade for $14, suggesting that the market is not fully convinced that Mr. Icahn will ultimately succeed.

While the CMC news took front stage, Icahn also continued adding to his stake in online medical database WebMD Health Corp (Nasdaq:WBMD). After his latest purchases, Icahn now owns 9.99% of the company. Shares in WBMD trade for about $35 after a high of nearly $60 a share earlier this year.

Subtle but Noteworthy
While some 13D filings grab headlines, many do not but are still incredibly noteworthy. Value firm Southeastern Asset Management, founded by long-time value investor Mason Hawkins, continues to buy up shares of cement and aggregates producer Texas Industries (NYSE:TXI). Shares in TXI have fallen hard this year as construction activity remains depressed. But Southeastern continues to buy convinced that the true intrinsic value of TXI is worth significantly more than today's depressed appraisal. Southeastern now owns nearly 30% of the company.

The Bottom Line
When any noteworthy investor steps up and flies a 13D, initiating a new position or adding an existing one, it's a worthwhile exercise to examine the situation closely. Investors should devote even more attention when a firm, such as Southeastern, continues to step up to the plate and bet big on one company.

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At the time of writing, Sham Gad did not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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