Carlson Capital Starts New Activist Position in Hot Topic (HOTT) ~ market folly

Friday, September 3, 2010

Carlson Capital Starts New Activist Position in Hot Topic (HOTT)

Clint Carlson's hedge fund firm Carlson Capital just filed a 13D with the SEC regarding shares of Hot Topic (HOTT). Due to portfolio activity on August 23rd, 2010, Carlson has disclosed a 3.96% ownership stake in HOTT with 1,764,800 shares. This is a brand new position as they did not show ownership back on June 30th in their last portfolio disclosure.

This stake cost them $8,858,729 as the hedge fund purchased shares in the $4.80 to $5.45 range. Their filing becomes interesting when you read in the fine print that Carlson has entered into a "group" agreement with Becker Drapkin Management for the purpose of this investment. Collectively between both parties, they own 9.042% of Hot Topic, or 4,030,749 shares. Both Carlson and Becker Drapkin operate in Dallas, Texas.

Carlson has filed a 13D signifying activist intent in their investment. The filing states that the hedge fund believes the company is undervalued and plans to engage with HOTT regarding "the assets, business, strategy, capitalization, financial condition and/or operations." Carlson manages six hedge funds with over $4 billion in assets under management (AUM). They primarily pursue risk arbitrage, relative value arbitrage (long/short equity pairs), and credit arbitrage. This is the first time the firm has appeared on Market Folly and we'll continue to cover their movements in the future.

Taken from Google Finance, Hot Topic is "is a mall and Web-based specialty retailer operating the Hot Topic and Torrid concepts, as well as the e-space music concept, ShockHound. It sells a selection of music/pop culture-licensed and music/pop culture-influenced apparel, accessories, music and gift items for young men and women principally between the ages of 12 and 22. At Torrid, the Company sells apparel, lingerie, shoes and accessories for plus-size females principally between the ages of 15 and 29."

For other recent hedge fund maneuvers, head to our coverage of the latest SEC filings.

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