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Business Observer Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 7 years ago

Bruce is back

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Agribusiness giant Alico has a new major shareholder who is well known in the world of money management in Florida: Bruce Sherman.

Agribusiness giant Alico has a new major shareholder who is well known in the world of money management in Florida: Bruce Sherman.

Sherman is the shrewd Naples investor who once headed Private Capital Management, posting spectacular investment returns for years before the financial crisis and a bet on Bear Stearns blemished an otherwise stellar track record.

Sherman's investing style is to select companies he thinks are undervalued, which makes it particularly interesting that he announced recently a 7% stake in the Fort Myers-based agribusiness company.
Alico announced on Dec. 3 that it would become the nation's largest citrus producer once it completes three deals for rivals totaling $363 million. A group of New York investors acquired a majority stake in Alico late last year, slashing the dividend and selling its sugar-producing land. The company's shares are publicly traded (symbol: ALCO; recent price: $43).

In a securities filing recently, Sherman outlined his recent purchases of Alico's stock. He began purchasing shares of Alico on Oct. 27 for $34.77 per share.

At most, he paid $42.52 per share on Dec. 9. As of Dec. 10, Sherman owned 514,046 shares of Alico, or 6.98% of the company's outstanding shares. Based on recent share price, that amount to about $22 million.

Sherman could not be reached to discuss the investment in Alico. In the filing, he lists his address as M4 Capital in Naples, a firm Sherman founded in 2012.

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