One of the largest alternative asset management firms in the world, billionaire Ken Griffin‘s Citadel Investment Group has been quietly reducing its exposure to U.S equities since the second half of 2015. The latest 13F filing submitted with the Securities and Exchange Commission by the fund reveals that its U.S equity portfolio was worth $79.25 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2016, making it the third quarter in a row in which the value of the fund’s U.S equity portfolio has declined, after peaking at $115.30 billion at the end of June of last year. Officially founded by Mr. Griffin on November 1, 1990, Citadel Investment Group has grown on to become one of the largest hedge funds in the world over the last 25 years, with regulatory assets under management totaling around $150 billion as of March 30, 2016. Due to its humongous size , Citadel holds positions in thousands of stocks at any given point, which makes it difficult for anyone to identify the major moves made by the fund during a quarter. However, we at Insider Monkey regularly scan Citadel’s equity portfolio in order to extract that information and share it with our readers. Having said that, in this post, we are going to reveal and discuss the five most notable moves made by Citadel Investment Group during the first quarter of 2016.
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Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA)
– Shares Owned by Citadel Investment Group (as of March 31): 547,694
– Value of Holding (as of March 31): $51.76 million
Let’s start with Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA), in which Citadel Investment Group re-initiated a stake during the first quarter, after selling off its entire holding in the company during the final quarter of 2015. Shares of the payment processing giant started 2016 on a dismal note, but due to the rally they have seen since mid-February they are currently trading down by 3.5% year-to-date. In spite of the upward momentum, some analysts believe that trading at 23.03-times forward earnings means that Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA)’s stock is overvalued and that it will be extremely difficult for it to break above the $100 mark in the short-term. For the first quarter, the company reported EPS of $0.86 on revenue of $2.45 billion, topping analysts’ estimates of EPS of $0.85 on revenue of $2.38 billion. A hedge fund that reduced its stake in Mastercard during the first quarter was Doug Silverman and Alexander Klabin’s Senator Investment Group, which cut its holding by one-fourth to 1.5 million shares.
Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA)
– Shares Owned by Citadel Investment Group (as of March 31): 3.74 million
– Value of Holding (as of March 31): $104.32 million
Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA) was another large new addition to Citadel Investment Group’s equity portfolio during the first quarter. Though Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA)’s stock has appreciated by over 6% so far this year, it is still trading down more than 25% from the highs that it hit in late-2014. On May 4, the company reported its first quarter results, which were largely in-line with analysts’ projections. Following the earnings release, analysts at Pacific Crest reiterated their ‘Overweight’ rating on the stock on May 5, while upping their price target on it to $37 from $34, which represents potential upside of 25.6%. Billionaire Dan Loeb’s Third Point also initiated a stake in the media and entertainment company during the first quarter, purchasing 1.45 million shares.
We’ll look at three large positions that Citadel sold out of during the first quarter on the next page.