This Week's Activist Filings

By Sham Gad | June 24, 2012 AAA

Despite a volatile stock market, investors continue to make activist moves in stocks deemed undervalued. The fear of a market pullback is not getting in the way of efforts to unlocking value. Investors looking for some worthwhile ideas should look closer.
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A Food Play
Highland Investment Fund recently disclosed a new position in Carrols Restaurant Group (Nasdaq:TAST), the largest franchisee of Burger King restaurants. Highland disclosed ownership of 1.9 million shares representing 8.4% of Carrols. Carrols recently completed a spin-off of its restaurants into two separate publicly traded entities. The company's Mexican restaurants are now part of Fiesta Restaurant Group (Nasdaq:FRGI) while Carrols retained the Burger King businesses. It recently announced that it had completed the acquisition of 278 additional Burger King restaurants. The parent company, Burger King Worldwide (NYSE:BKW) operates over 12,000 Burger King restaurants globally with more than 11,000 locations run by franchisees. Highland has not made any specific request to Carrols but has said that it reserves the right to speak with management over strategic alternatives. Carrols trades for $5.70 today about the midpoint of Highland's price range of $5.13 to $6.11.

SEE: Earning Forecasts: A Primer

Loading Up
Bulldog Investors continued adding to its stake in Imperial Holdings (NYSE:IFT), a life-insurance financier, and it now owns 11% of the company. Bulldog paid around $4 for the additional shares. Imperial shares continue to trade for $4 or an $82 million market cap, and currently trade at price to book ratio of 0.39.

SEE: 5 Must-Have Metrics For Value Investors

It's always great when insiders are buying shares and that is the case with medical device company Nanoshpere (Nasdaq:NSPH). Chairman Mark Slezak recently added more to his already impressive stake and now owns 32% after buying 700,000 shares for around $1.85 a share. Nanosphere is an Illinois-based company that develops, manufactures and markets molecular diagnostics platforms that enables genomic and protein testing on a single platform. The company's market cap is $101 million with a debt free balance sheet and $32 million in cash.

SEE: Reading The Balance Sheet

The Bottom Line
Watching what active investment funds do on a regular basis is a very productive way of generating a good investment idea list. With tens of thousands of publicly traded stocks, looking over 13D filings is an excellent way of screening for investment options.

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

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