Geoff Gannon January 21, 2015

Sold Town Sports (CLUB); Bought Babcock & Wilcox (BWC)

Today, I sold my shares of Town Sports (CLUB) and put the proceeds of that sale – plus some other cash – into buying Babcock & Wilcox (BWC).

My average cost in Town Sports was $8.84 a share. My average sale price was $6.85. This is a realized loss of 23% over an 11 month holding period.

My average cost in Babcock & Wilcox is $27.06 a share. Babcock now represents 18% of my portfolio. The company will split into two separate stocks later this year. I will hold on to both of those stocks.

I may increase my position in Babcock to about 25% of my portfolio. This depends on whether: 1) I am successful in selling the last of my Japanese net-nets 2) Babcock’s share price does not rise too much.

The four non-Japanese net-nets in my portfolio right now are:

  1. George Risk
  2. Ark Restaurants
  3. Weight Watchers
  4. Babcock & Wilcox

These four stocks account for more than 90% of my portfolio.

Toby handles the Singular Diligence model portfolio. This sale has no impact on the model portfolio. Quan also owns Town Sports in his portfolio. Quan did not sell Town Sports and buy Babcock & Wilcox today. If and when Quan makes a change to his portfolio it will be posted here.

The timing of my sale of Town Sports and purchase of Babcock has to do with Babcock – not with Town Sports. Town Sports is the target of an activist campaign. Activist investors control about a quarter of the company’s shares. The board recently adopted a “poison pill” defense and the activists nominated their ticket for this year’s board election. None of these events make it a particularly good time to sell Town Sports. However, we just put out the Babcock & Wilcox issue of Singular Diligence. The publication of that issue freed me up to buy the stock. Quan and I start research on a stock far in advance of the date when that stock appears in Singular Diligence. So, I have been waiting for months to buy Babcock & Wilcox.

It is worth mentioning that I did not – and would not – have sold Town Sports merely to hold cash. I sold Town Sports to buy Babcock. This tells you 3 things:

  1. I prefer Babcock over Town Sports
  2. I believed Babcock was the strongest stock I did not already own
  3. I believed Town Sports was the weakest stock I did own

For example, my sale of Town Sports obviously tells you that I think Weight Watchers is – at today’s price – a stronger stock than Town Sports. Otherwise, I would have sold Weight Watchers instead of Town Sports.

If you subscribe to Singular Diligence you can now read the full issues on both Town Sports and Babcock & Wilcox.…

Read more