Lee Cooperman Starts 2 New Stakes, Adds To 4 Positions, Trims Another ~ market folly

Monday, January 26, 2015

Lee Cooperman Starts 2 New Stakes, Adds To 4 Positions, Trims Another

Omega Advisors' Lee Cooperman filed a myriad of amended 13G's with the SEC recently.  Here's the breakdown:

Starts 2 New Positions: Aspen Group & Arbor Realty Trust

The hedge fund manager has revealed newly bought stakes in two companies: Aspen Group (ASPU), an online education company, and Arbor Realty Trust (ABR), a specialized real estate finance company.  Both positions were disclosed due to activity on December 31st, 2014.

Cooperman now owns 7.11% of Aspen Group with 8 million shares and owns 7.53% of Arbor Realty Trust with over 3.77 million shares.

Adds to Altisource Portfolio Solutions, Calls Out Management

Also, Cooperman has filed a 13G, Form 3, and multiple Form 4's with the SEC regarding Altisource Portfolio Solutions (ASPS).  He disclosed an ownership stake of 11.14% of the company with over 2.25 million shares as of December 31st, 2014.  This means he's increased his position by almost a million shares since the end of the third quarter.

The Form 4 indicates that Cooperman bought ASPS shares at weighted average prices of $47.47 and $39.42 on December 19th and 22nd, respectively.

Shares of ASPS currently trade around $22 after the company has been hit with regulatory scrutiny as the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) came down hard on ASPS's biggest customer, Ocwen Financial (OCN), and in turn ASPS as well.  Both companies were part of Bill Erbey's empire and as part of the settlement with the DFS, Erbey will step down from his posts at both companies.

Cooperman also recently appeared on a company conference call and lashed out at management for poor capital allocation decisions, asking "what I'm trying to figure out to be honest with you ... whether your testicles are bigger than your brains or your brains are bigger than your testicles."

The company bought back a ton of stock at much higher prices (around $104 per share) during the period of regulatory scrutiny, only to see their shares plummet much further down to current levels of around $22. 

Numerous hedge funds have been involved in ASPS and OCN shares and it will be interesting to see who held on through the carnage, who exited, and who might have picked up shares as a distressed play at the end of 2014.  Unfortunately, it will be another 3 weeks until those disclosures (Q4 13F filings) are submitted to the SEC.

At the end of the third quarter, the largest holders of ASPS were Luxor Capital, Omega Advisors, White Elm Capital, among others.  Top OCN holders included Pennant Capital, Highfields Capital, Baupost Group, Kingstown Capital, Own Creek Asset Management, White Elm Capital, among others.  Since the end of the third quarter, OCN is down 72% and ASPS is down 78%.

Adds to Atlas Energy & Atlas Pipeline Stakes

Next, the Omega Advisors founder has been out buying shares of Atlas Energy (ATLS).  Per the 13G filing, Cooperman now owns over 7 million shares (an increase of over 2.9 million shares since the end of the third quarter).

Additionally, he has also increased his exposure to Atlas Pipeline Partners (APL) and now owns over 7.45 million shares (compared to the 3.34 million he owned at the end of the third quarter).

Increases Gulf Coast Ultra Deep Royalty Trust Exposure

Next, Cooperman has disclosed an increased position in Gulf Coast Ultra Deep Royalty Trust Units (GULTU).  He previously owned 16.9 million shares but now owns 22.22 million, an increase of over 5.3 million shares since the end of the third quarter.

Slightly Trims Chimera Investment Corp Stake

Lastly, Cooperman disclosed in another 13G that he has ever-so-slightly reduced his stake in Chimera Investment Corp (CIM) by a minor 168,645 shares.  He still retained a position of over 64.3 million shares at the end of 2014.

For more of Cooperman's recent portfolio activity, head here.

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