Yale Chief Investments Officer David Swensen can now put on his slippers, sit back in his chair, unlock his door and even get an x-ray, all without leaving the safety of his own investments.
In a set of forms filed Feb. 17 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the University revealed that it now owns 5 percent or more of four new companies — Compx International Incorporated, Falcon Products Incorporated, Fischer Imaging Corporation and R. G. Barry Corporation — which produce locks, furniture, imaging equipment and footwear, respectively.
The SEC requires holders of more than 5 percent of a company’s voting shares to file a 13-G form within 45 days of the end of the calendar year in which the owner goes over that percentage, said John Heine, the deputy director of the office of public affairs at the SEC. He said companies do not have to file if they go over 5 percent and then go back under within the same calendar year.
Yale spokeswoman Helaine Klasky and a representative of the Yale Investments Office both declined to comment on the University’s investments.
Based on prices at market close Wednesday, the four investments have a total value of $8,598,466. In each case, the Yale University Retirement Plan for Staff Employees holds a small portion of the total number of shares. Spokespeople for the three of the four companies that could be reached said they had not spoken with Yale before the Investments Office bought their stock.
The largest investment — $2,879,662.50 — was in Compx International, which, according to its Web site, produces locking systems, precision ball bearing slides and ergonomic computer support systems. Yale now owns 5.8 percent of the company. Compx officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
David Morley, the president of Falcon Products, said the University’s 5-percent holdings in his company were “a pretty good size investment.” Morley said his company produces furniture for various places, including Yale, though the University is not a major client. Other buyers include Marriot, Hilton and Hyatt hotel chains and Starbucks coffeehouses, Morley said. He said the company had been hurt by the declining fortunes of the hospitality industry over the past three years.
“So [Yale’s] buying hopefully at the bottom,” Morley said.
Yale also owns 5.5 percent of R. G. Barry Corporation, which makes “casual footwear” such as slippers, R. G. Barry Director of Corporate Communications Roy Youst said. According to a press release on the company Web site, R. G. Barry had $40 million in net sales last year.
While the other companies may seem more traditional, Yale is also investing in technology-oriented companies. It now owns 5.3 percent of Fischer Imaging, whose main business is digital mammography. The NASDAQ stock exchange delisted Fischer Imaging last year after the company was delinquent in filing required forms with the SEC, said Michael Klatman, an investors relations consultant for Fischer. He said there is generally not much trading of over-the-counter securities, which are not listed on any exchange, such as Fischer.
“In a sense, it’s interesting that Yale could attain that large a position,” Klatman said.
Klatman said the company had been delayed in filing because it was changing the way it recognizes revenue and addressing other issues, a process he said the company will probably complete in the “not-too-distant future.” He said it would take three to four weeks for the company to be relisted on NASDAQ after it files its forms with the SEC and applies to the exchange.