Ubben Likes VRX, MSFT, AFBE; Cuts Back On GOOG, MCRS, COL


After coming off a highly discussed panel on activist investing at the Milken Institute, as reported in ValueWalk, hedge fund manager Jeffery Ubben is busy adding new names to his $13 billion portfolio.

Tech big theme for subtle activist

The fund manager at ValueAct took a liking to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), his top holding, as well as MSCI, Dresser-Rand Group Inc. (NYSE:DRC) and Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC).

Ubben’s largest percentage increase comes on Dresser-Rand Group Inc. (NYSE:DRC), where his recent activity in the stock brought his holdings to 2.21% of the portfolio, or nearly 5 million shares. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) remained the top holding at 22.06% of the portfolio and over 71 million shares.  After loading up on MSCI, Ubben now has 2.64% in his portfolio with 8 million shares. Ubben also indicated a buy on security protection, as Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC) represents 1.14% of the portfolio.

The portfolio includes a more manageable 14 stocks, indicating a high degree of concentration for $13 billion.

Ubben in Valeant not Allergan

The fund manager held steady in his second largest holding, Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX), which hasn’t appreciated in value as much as the target of its acquisition desires, Allergan.  Fellow activist hedge fund manager William Ackman famously involved himself with Valeant but purchased the shares of Allergan, Inc. (NYSE:AGN) rather than Valeant and now is waiting on the sidelines hoping a bidding war for Allergan to emerge.

Ubben is big in technology, as three of the top four stocks are old school tech names including Motorola and Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ:ADBE). The top four holdings represent over half the portfolio’s value.

Cutting back on defense

Stocks that Ubben cut back on were aerospace defense play Rockwell Collins, Inc. (NYSE:COL), the fifth largest holding in the portfolio, which represents a 7.89% share of the portfolio with over 13 million shares. Ubben entered the play at $79.67 and the stock is currently trading at $78.61.Areospace and defense industry stocks could see competition from the likes of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL), which has built a portfolio that includes drone makers as well as robotics manufacturing. Another major stock he exited includes MICROS Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:MCRS).

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About the Author

Mark Melin
Mark Melin is an alternative investment practitioner whose specialty is recognizing a trading program’s strategy and mapping it to a market environment and performance driver. He provides analysis of managed futures investment performance and commentary regarding related managed futures market environment. A portfolio and industry consultant, he was an adjunct instructor in managed futures at Northwestern University / Chicago and has written or edited three books, including High Performance Managed Futures (Wiley 2010) and The Chicago Board of Trade’s Handbook of Futures and Options (McGraw-Hill 2008). Mark was director of the managed futures division at Alaron Trading until they were acquired by Peregrine Financial Group in 2009, where he was a registered associated person (National Futures Association NFA ID#: 0348336). Mark has also worked as a Commodity Trading Advisor himself, trading a short volatility options portfolio across the yield curve, and was an independent consultant to various broker dealers and futures exchanges, including OneChicago, the single stock futures exchange, and the Chicago Board of Trade. He is also Editor, Opalesque Futures Intelligence and Editor, Opalesque Futures Strategies. - Contact: Mmelin(at)valuewalk.com

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