A New York hedge fund has in recent weeks built up a stake of more than 8 percent in Community Health Systems, making it the largest holder of the hospital chain's stock.
Glenview Capital Management, which manages more than $6 billion for clients, declared its CHS stake late last week. The firm says it owns more than 7.6 million shares through various entities. The majority of those have been acquired since Sept. 30, when Glenview owned just 1.6 million CHS shares. In the seven weeks since, CHS (Ticker: CYH) is flat as it gave ground before the election before recovering somewhat since.
Glenview's 8.4 percent stake puts it ahead of Lord Abbett & Co. and the parent of Fidelity Investments, which own 7.6 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively, of Franklin-based CHS. According to data compiled by Morningstar, former large owners Franklin Mutual and Thornburg Investment both trimmed their CHS holdings considerably during the third quarter and now rank sixth and seventh.
Running Glenview is Larry Robbins, who earlier this year — before the Supreme Court's landmark decision on health care reform — told attendees of an investment conference in New York that he liked the hospital sector because of the millions of new customers reform would bring to their business. At the time, he mentioned a number of names in particular, including industry leader HCA Holdings. One name notably absent from his list at the time: Community Health.
Robbins' jump into CHS comes after the stock has recovered more than half of the slide it experienced during and after its failed 2011 bid to buy out Tenet Healthcare. But the company still is changing hands below 2008 levels. While Robbins' presence might boost the confidence of other investors, don't look for any governance fireworks just yet: He filed his holdings report on form 13G, which means he will not be an activist investor.