The Morning Brief: Jana Takes Stake in Bristol-Myers

January 06, 2017   Stephen Taub


Activist hedge fund JANA Partners established a new position in drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb in the fourth quarter, making it one of the firm’s five largest long positions, according to published reports citing its fourth-quarter letter to investors. It is not known what JANA paid for the stock. In mid-July the stock peaked at around $76 and then dropped to around $50 or so, where it kicked around for the first five weeks of the fourth quarter. It closed at $60.14 on Thursday, up 1.7 percent.

Drug stocks have been among the big losers for over a year, since they were placed in the cross-hairs of politicians who want to rein in drug prices and other health care costs. At the end of the third quarter — the last period for which investment firms were required to disclose their stock holdings — no hedge fund ranked among Bristol-Myers’ largest shareholders.

Even so, several prominent hedge funds did take sizable stakes during the period, including Tiger Management, which established a new position that made it the firm’s ninth largest U.S. long. D.E. Shaw counted the stock as its twelfth-largest U.S. long, while the stock ranked No. 15 in the huge equities portfolio of Renaissance Technologies.

The other four largest positions held by JANA at year-end were ConAgra Brands, its long-time number one holding; HD Supply Holdings; Liberty Broadband; and MPLX LP.

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Skybridge Capital founder Anthony Scaramucci, determined to join the administration of president-elect Donald Trump, is hoping to sell his hedge fund of funds firm for $200 million, according to the New York Post. "The Mooch" is best known for running the annual SALT Conference in Las Vegas and reviving the Wall Street Week television program. According to the Post, assets at Skybridge have dropped to $7.5 billion from $9.2 billion. "He’s saying he has a job if he wants it," the newspaper quotes a friend of Scaramucci. "Scaramucci has been talking about selling SkyBridge for a while. The business sucks."

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Two Sigma Ventures, a division of Two Sigma, has participated in the $18 million Series E financing for Rethink Robotics. The firm says it is developing robots "to automate the 90 percent of tasks that until now have been beyond the reach of traditional automation." In a press release, Rethink says it plans to use the proceeds for global expansion initiatives and new product development.

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Elliott Management Corp. liquidated its remaining stake in American Capital, selling more than five million shares of the private equity firm and asset manager.

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Glenview Capital Management trimmed its stake in Flex by about 6 percent, to 36.4 million shares. It now owns 6.75 percent of the technology manufacturer, formerly called Flextronics.


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