Highbridge Capital Management, co-founded by billionaire Glenn Russell Dubin, who remains the firm’s chairman, enjoyed a solid first quarter of 2015. The firm’s large and diversified equity portfolio, which was valued at $7.82 billion at the start of the year, delivered weighted average returns of 1.8% from its 501 long positions in companies with market caps of at least $1 billion, based on the size of those positions at the start of the year. Note that Highbridge’s actual returns may be different from our calculated returns, based on a multitude of factors. Our returns metric does however give us a pretty good idea as to the performance of the fund’s equity portfolio.
Let’s take a look now at some of the holdings which dominated the upper positions of Highbridge’s equity portfolio, particularly the fund’s tech picks. We’ll start with Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), which was one of the quarter’s top performing stocks and the best performing large-cap stock. Twitter soared 39.62% during the quarter to pop above $50 for the first time since October. Highbridge seemingly timed the pop perfectly, as it opened a new long position in Twitter consisting of 1.77 million shares during the fourth quarter, valued at $63.37 million, making it the fund’s 16th-most valuable long position.
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) used its relatively unheralded acquisition (at the time) of Periscope to generate a good deal of positive buzz, with the live-streaming app replacing Meerkat almost overnight as the de-facto top streaming app for the platform. It’s thought Periscope could add a whole new social layer to Twitter and attract a batch of new users to the platform. Rumors have also swirled for weeks that Twitter could be an acquisition target itself of tech giant Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), which has also helped drive shares upward. Lastly, while user growth has slowed, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR)’s most recent earnings report showed positive steps towards better monetizing existing users. John Thaler’s JAT Capital Management scored big on Twitter during the quarter, having both the largest position in terms of size, and the greatest exposure to the stock among any fund in our database.
Speaking of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL),Highbridge also opened a sizable new long position in the tech giant consisting of 135,859 class A shares valued at $72.10 million. In fact the new position immediately vaulted Google to the top spot in Highbridge’s equity portfolio among long positions. While Google didn’t enjoy the explosive quarter that Twitter did, its class A shares were up a solid 4.53% during the quarter. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s YouTube is facing some new competition from Vessel, which is trying to lure content creators away with more favorable payment terms and even guaranteed contracts for exclusive content. Boykin Curry’s Eagle Capital Management remains the largest shareholder of Google amongs the funds we track.