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John W. Rogers founded Ariel Investments in 1983. At that time, the only major account he had was the Howard University's endowment fund, which was $100,000 worth. Rogers managed to grow Ariel's AUM to $45 million in only three years. And today, the total value of the 13F portfolio of Ariel is about $4 billion.

Before launching Ariel, Rogers spent two-and-a-half years at William Blair & Company as a stockbroker. Rogers was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award in 2008, which is the highest honor of Princeton University presented each year to the alumni whose career embodies a commitment to national service. The top 10 positions of Rogers' Ariel Investments returned a weighted average of 29% since the end of the third quarter last year, while the S&P 500 index was up 16% in the same period. The calculation assumes that Rogers did not increase or reduce these 10 positions since September.

Company Name

Ticker

Value (x1000)

Return since Sept

JONES LANG LASALLE INC

(NYSE:JLL)

127682

34.81%

GANNETT INC

(NYSE:GCI)

122911.8

59.98%

LAZARD LTD

(NYSE:LAZ)

121507.7

27.79%

JANUS CAP GROUP INC

(NYSE:JNS)

118049.7

18.29%

INTERPUBLIC GROUP C

(NYSE:IPG)

117889.6

48.11%

MOHAWK INDUSTRIES

(NYSE:MHK)

111390.9

52.20%

ZIMMER HOLDINGS INC

(NYSE:ZMH)

110005.5

3.87%

INTL GAME TECHNOLOGY

(NYSE:IGT)

96356.34

17.42%

DEVRY INC DEL

(NYSE:DV)

93815.96

9.54%

FIRST AMERICAN FINL

(NYSE:FAF)

92379.76

5.81%

Jones Lang Lasalle Inc is the largest position in Ariel's 13F portfolio as of September 30, 2011. During the third quarter, Ariel boosted its JLL stakes by 18% to $128 million. Since the end of the third quarter, JLL returned 34.81%, beating the market by more than 18 percentage points. JLL has a market cap of $3.03B and a P/E ratio of 18.88. There are 18 hedge funds reported to own shares of this financial company at the end of the third quarter. For example, Chuck Royce's Royce & Associates had $77 million invested in JLL at the end of September.

Gannett Inc is the second largest position. It is also the best performing position among the 10 positions listed above. The stock was up 59.98% since the end of the third quarter, heavily beating the market by almost 44 percentage points. Gannett is an international media and marketing solutions company. GCI has a market cap of $3.6B and a relatively low P/E ratio of 7.15. At the end of September, there are 21 hedge funds with GCI positions in their 13F portfolios. Ariel Investments invested $123 million in GCI. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway also had $17 million invested in GCI at the end of the third quarter.

Lazard Ltd, Janus Cap Group Inc, Interpublic Group Cos Inc, and International Game Technology also outperformed the market since the end of the third quarter. Though the remaining three stocks - ZMH, DV, and FAF - underperformed the market since the end of September, they still generated positive returns in that period and they are not among the top six positions of Ariel.

Overall, we like Rogers and his stock picks. We encourage investors to focus on his top stock picks, and we believe that they will be more likely to outperform the market by imitating Rogers' top stock picks.

Source: John W. Rogers' Returns Since September