EphBlog board member Aidan Finley ’04 sent in this Wall Street Journal article three months ago.

It’s a schoolyard brawl that’s leaving some of Wall Street’s titans bruised and others thumping their chests.

The bull-bear clash is over for-profit education stocks, or publicly traded companies offering secondary education to students, many of whom rely on government financial assistance. Betting for or against the companies has led to some of the year’s biggest gains and most painful losses.

On the “bull” side are well-known hedge funds such as Tiger Global Management LLC, Maverick Capital Ltd. and Lone Pine Capital LLC. Some have praised the companies, citing rising revenues as new groups of people, often adults, seek to improve their chances of getting a job through education.

Lately, though, several for-profit college operators have come under fire from government bodies who say the schools are pushing prospective students to take on heavy debt while failing to prepare them for careers that allow the students to pay off the loans. Stocks like those of Corinthian Colleges Inc., Apollo Group Inc. and Strayer Education Inc. have tumbled in recent months.

Tiger Global, a fund run by Chase Coleman and seeded by Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management, had almost 9% of its $3.1 billion in stockholdings allocated to Apollo as of June 30, making it the fund’s single biggest stock investment, according to AlphaClone LLC, a firm that tracks disclosed hedge-fund holdings. Tiger Global started buying Apollo shares around the start of the year, according to a January letter to clients extolling Apollo’s “compelling expected return” over the next several years.

“We have conducted considerable due diligence, framing what we believe to be worst-case scenarios” related to any regulatory changes that might affect the company, Mr. Coleman wrote in the letter. He noted Apollo’s 21% share decline in 2009, calling the shares “depressed.”

Six weeks after this article came out, Apollo “blew up,” to use the technical quant term.

Depending on when he purchased those shares and when/if he has sold them, Coleman’s ’97 loss has been around $100 million.

What do our Eph investors think about APOL as a stock investment today?

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