High Dividend Yields for Billionaire Thomas Steyer’s Farallon Capital

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Since founding Farallon Capital Management in 1986, Thomas Steyer and fellow investment manager Andrew J. M. Spokes have seen their AUM grow to exceed $20 billion, not including the $8bn in private equity dollars that belong to Hellman & Friedman, another firm that Steyer is a partner of. It seems that Steyer was built for Wall Street success, after being groomed at Yale, Stanford, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs. In 2010, Steyer, alongside Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, participated in the Giving Pledge, which donates half of their fortune to charity. Let’s take a look at one of the methods which helped Steyer to build that fortune, specifically dividend investing.

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BP p.l.c. (NYSE:BP) is planted at the top of our list, giving Farallon’s 845,000 shares a dividend yield of 4.8%. The major oil company continues to scour for new oil reserves, as further limits from the Middle East and other areas prevent drilling and exploration. The Street has mixed reviews of BP, perhaps caused by negative growth in earnings, revenue, and share price, although a positive slant towards buy and hold remain prevalent. Richard Perry of $2bn Perry Capital lets both an equity and call option position comprise his top five holdings (see what else tops Perry’s holdings here).

Global investment management firm Oaktree Capital Group, LLC (NYSE:OAK) also pays Farallon a hefty dividend, amounting to 4.6%. The firm currently has an AUM of roughly $80bn and specializes in contrarian debt investments. The stock recently saw an upgrade from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, who pushed OAK up to a buy from neutral. OAK’s Q3 earnings beat last year helped propel the stock to an 11% gain in the past twelve months; the firm is expected to announce fourth-quarter results on Valentine’s Day, so be wary if investing beforehand. Billionaire David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital devotes $75mm to OAK (check out his other financial picks here).

Next on our list is Canadian-based energy producer Encana Corp. (NYSE:ECA). Focusing primarily on natural gas in the U.S. and Canada, ECA dropped their oil assets in 2009 to give full attention to natural gas, but the depressed prices in gas have not given ECA the promise they were hoping for. The stock returned negative growth in the last year, spurred on by a number of earnings misses. ECA reports on February 14th as well, with a consensus estimate of about $0.32 per share. Famed billionaire and hedge fund manager Steven Cohen of SAC Capital Advisors recently poured into Encana, possibly hoping for a push in natural gas prices in 2013. (Click here to view his other top positions). Encana pays a dividend yield of 4.2%.

Find out which other dividend plays Steyer has in his pocket on the next page.

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