Here's What This Huge Money-Manager Has Been Buying and Selling

Does a dividend yield above 13% interest you? Thought so.

Jan 30, 2014 at 12:24PM

Every quarter, many money managers have to disclose what they've bought and sold via 13F filings. Their latest moves can shine a bright light on smart stock picks.

Today let's look at Columbia Wanger Asset Management. Founded in 1992, it's a subsidiary of Ameriprise Financial, managing mutual funds and serving investment companies, pension plans, and others. Its reportable stock portfolio totaled $26.1 billion in value as of Dec. 31, 2013.

Interesting developments
So what does Columbia Wanger's latest quarterly 13F filing tell us? Here are a few interesting details:

The biggest new holdings are aerospace simulation specialist CAE and Groupon, Inc. Other new holdings of interest include Celldex Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CLDX) and RE/MAX Holdings (NYSE:RMAX). Celldex shares more than tripled over the past year, making it one of 2013's best-performing biotechs, largely because of excitement over its late-stage brain cancer immunotherapy treatment, rindopepimut. The company has seen great promise in some of its formulations, with more in its pipeline. Cash burn, addressed via stock dilution, has been a concern, but with biotech companies, potential FDA approvals are the keys to ultimate success, and additional stock issuances aren't necessarily regrettable.

Real-estate brokerage franchisor RE/MAX Holdings went public in October, with bulls hopeful about its prospects as the housing market improves in the U.S. -- and also in Japan, where RE/MAX has been expanding. The company's third quarter featured its agent count rising 4% over year-ago levels to 92,731, and revenue up 5%, to $40.3 million. Management sees agent growth as its prime growth-driver and is also aiming to expand internationally.

Among holdings in which Columbia Wanger Asset Management increased its stake was Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRPT). After getting whacked by an FDA decision, Sarepta recently surged nearly 40% on good data from a phase IIb study of its experimental Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug, eteplirsen. That, along with its valuation, led to an upgrade from analysts at Needham, from hold to buy. If FDA approval is eventually granted, Sarepta Therapeutics may turn out to be a strong winner for investors.

Columbia Wanger Asset Management reduced its stake in lots of companies, including Windstream Corporation (NASDAQ:WIN) and BioMarin Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ:BMRN). Windstream has seen its stock slide in recent years -- as its future presents considerable uncertainty -- but many investors remain interested, probably because of its dividend yield, which tops 13%! Its revenue has been growing, but that hasn't been reflected very well in the bottom line, with profit margins and earnings shrinking. Facing a shrinking landline business and losses of customers, Windstream has been shifting its focus from rural telecom service toward broadband service, cloud computing, and business customers. Questioning its dividend's sustainability in the face of Windstream's debt is quite reasonable (and the many shares shorted reflect plenty of doubt), but it's also reasonable to be hopeful, as Windstream sports positive free cash flow and growth potential.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical is a rare-disease drug specialist with an attractive pipeline. Investors are most interested in its Vimizim drug, which targets Morquio A syndrome (also known as mucopolysaccharidosis IV type A, or MPS IVA), and is getting close to an FDA approval decision (possibly in February), and also in its cancer-fighting PARP inhibitor, BMN673. It has been seen as an acquisition target by many, but my colleague Sean Williams has pointed out that it's not exactly trading at bargain levels these days. Analysts at JPMorgan Chase included BioMarin among the company's top biotech stocks for 2014, citing improving cost control. Orphan drug treatments might not seem like a great business, but they tend to have little to no competition and can command high prices.

Finally, Columbia Wanger's biggest closed positions included Ariad Pharmaceuticals and Deckers Outdoor Corporation.

We should never blindly copy any investor's moves, no matter how talented the investor. But it can be useful to keep an eye on what smart folks are doing. 13F forms can be great places to find intriguing candidates for our portfolios.

The No. 1 Way to Lose Your Wealth Without Even Knowing It
You’ve fought hard to build wealth for you and your family. Yet one all-too-common pitfall could completely derail your dreams before you even know it. That's why a company The Economist hails as "an ethical oasis" has isolated five simple questions you must answer to ensure that your financial future is really secure.

Can you answer YES to all five of these eye-opening questions?
Click here to find out -- before it’s too late!

Selena Maranjianwhom you can follow on Twitter, owns shares of JPMorgan Chase and Windstream. The Motley Fool recommends BioMarin Pharmaceutical. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers