Lone Pine Capital Starts SBA Communications Position ~ market folly

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Lone Pine Capital Starts SBA Communications Position

Steve Mandel's hedge fund firm Lone Pine Capital has disclosed a brand new position in SBA Communications (SBAC).  They filed a 13G with the SEC indicating they own 6.4% of the company with almost 8.2 million shares. The filing was required due to portfolio activity on January 8th.

While this is a new stake, they've had exposure to the wireless tower stock play via their position in Crown Castle International (CCI). 

Their new SBAC position, however, is much larger and it's a bit curious that they would all of a sudden initiate their position now.  The thesis and valuation has largely been unchanged.  

It's also worth highlighting though that SBAC has been a longstanding top position for hedge fund White Elm Capital.  White Elm was founded by Matthew Iorio and before launching his own fund, he worked at Lone Pine.

While the bull case on tower stocks has been a play on the proliferation of wireless data usage, the bear case seemingly hinges on a potential rising interest rate environment and potential consolidation in the wireless carriers.

Per Google Finance, SBA Communications is "an independent owner and operator of wireless communications towers. The Company’s principal operations are in the United States and its territories."

We recently detailed some of Lone Pine's other portfolio activity here.

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