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Cohen’s SAC Increases Walter Stake Amid Shareholder Action

March 25 (Bloomberg) -- SAC Capital Advisors LP, the investment company owned by Steven Cohen, more than doubled its stake in Walter Energy Inc. as the company’s shares traded at the lowest in more than three years.

SAC reported owning 3.33 million shares, or 5.3 percent, of Walter Energy, according to a filing today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. SAC is now the second-largest shareholder in Birmingham, Alabama-based Walter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Walter, which mines coal used in steelmaking, is facing calls from an activist investor to replace board members.

The shares have fallen 55 percent in the past year as the price of metallurgical coal, a steelmaking ingredient, has tumbled amid stagnating steel production. Walter fell 4.6 percent to $28.10 at the close in New York, the lowest since May 1, 2009. Walter said on on Feb. 20 its average sales price fell 39 percent to $149 a metric ton in the quarter compared with a year earlier.

Audley Capital Advisors LLP, an investment advising firm, has proposed five board members to replace a majority of Walter’s independent directors and promote changes in the company’s operations and capital structure. Walter shareholders will vote on directors at the April 25 annual meeting.

Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesman for SAC Capital, declined to comment on the share purchase.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sonja Elmquist in New York at selmquist1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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