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Jana Partners activist fund had a huge 2019 - this is the data behind the stocks

2 weeks ago by Jon Marino in Earnings

Hedge fund Jana Partners had a huge 2019, driven by a diverse set of data. 

Its activist fund notched gains of more than 50%, according to a Reuters report, stretching across a range of investments. The Jana Partners Strategic Investment Fund is reportedly the firm's biggest, notable after so many other fund managers' stock-picking strategies have failed to notch meaningful returns over soaring market benchmarks. 

Alternative data showcases additional aspects of growth in some of Jana's bets.

In 2019, ConAgra ($NYSE:CAG) shares surged 60%, after the January 2019 announcement Jana Partners partner Scott Ostfeld would join the packaged foods company's board. And, according to job posting data gathered at ConAgra and partner sites, it's apparent growth mode surged too - the company added 28% new job postings in 2019. 

At restaurant proprietor Bloomin' Brands ($NYSE:BLMN), Jana's arrival proved to be good luck (and, great news). In August, the hedge fund bought in; by November, Bloomin' said it was looking at either a buyer or a breakup. And the stock shot up 15% over a three-month span. Above, our map tracks locations of brands Outback, Roy's, Fleming's Steakhouse, Carrabba's, and Bonefish Grill. 

Callaway Golf ($NYSE:ELY) is another example of a company where Jana started pushing for change - and got it, in the form of stock price appreciation. The golf gear equipment maker grew job postings a whopping 44%, according to alternative data. Over the last 12 months, shares are up just a little over 12% - and down from recent highs - but Jana's bet, and perhaps Americans' renewed interest in the game thanks to businesses like TopGolf - may support Callaway stock in 2020 as well. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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