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EJF Capital sells out of IBERIABANK in Q1 after nearly tripling stake in Q4'17

Arlington, Va.-based EJF Capital LLC exited 13 positions worth a combined $189.1 million during the first quarter, according to the firm's latest 13F filing.

The hedge fund manager completely sold out of its $43.1 million investment in IBERIABANK Corp. after nearly tripling its stake in the 2017 fourth quarter. IBERIABANK's stock returned 1.1% in the first quarter, but had surged over 12% higher at one point in January.

EJF also exited stakes in E*TRADE Financial Corp. and Blue Hills Bancorp Inc., which were worth $27.3 million and $19.2 million, respectively, as of Dec. 31. The hedge fund's fourth-largest exit, Sun Bancorp Inc., was acquired by OceanFirst Financial Corp. on Jan. 31.

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While EJF's total financial stock portfolio stayed relatively flat in the first quarter, increasing 0.3% to $1.14 billion, the fund manager did make some large moves.

EJF was especially bullish on Navient Corp., increasing its stake in the specialty lender by 2,546.3% to $17.4 million.

The fund manager also nearly doubled its investment in Brighthouse Financial Inc., making the insurance underwriter its 12th-largest position as of March 31 at $25.2 million.

The hedge fund further increased its position in its largest investment, Citizens Financial Group Inc., by 14.5%, pushing its total investment to $87.3 million.

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The fund manager also revealed 20 new stakes during the quarter, including a $21.5 million position in Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc., which became its 14th-largest position as of March 31. EJF also reported a $21.1 million stake in Bridgewater Bancshares Inc. which completed an initial public offering March 14, and became a 13F-reportable investment in the first quarter.

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