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Yum! Brands, Inc. (YUM), Axalta Coating Systems Ltd (AXTA), and PDC Energy Inc (PDCE): Billionaires George Soros and Steven Cohen Initiated Stakes in These Companies

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Billionaires George Soros and Steven Cohen are two of the most notorious names on Wall Street, which is why everyone interested in investing should follow their activity closely and track all publicly available information regarding their stock picks. In their latest 13F filings, George Soros’ Soros Fund Management disclosed adding 45 new positions to its equity portfolio during the fourth quarter, while Steven Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management initiated over 260 new long positions. Out of all new positions held by the two, we have identified three stocks which have been added to the equity portfolios of both funds during the last three months of 2014: Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM)Axalta Coating Systems Ltd (NYSE:AXTA), and PDC Energy Inc (NASDAQ:PDCE).

George Soros - Soros Fund Management

In Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), Point72 Asset Management initiated a $14.95 million stake that contains 205,200 shares and Soros Fund Management disclosed ownership of 655,000 shares, valued at $47.72 million. Overall, Yum! has seen an increase in popularity during the fourth quarter among the funds that we track, with 38 funds out of 737 disclosing long positions valued at a total of $819.57 million, versus 32 funds holding the stock in the previous quarter. However, the largest shareholder from our database is Doug Silverman and Alexander Klabin’s Senator Investment Group, which also initiated a stake with 2.50 million shares.

Restaurant company Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) has seen its stock gain around 5.40% during over the last year, while the industry returned around 17% on average. Last year, the stock of the company fell sharply in July amid a scandal in China which also involved McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD). Both companies took a hit after a Chinese TV channel conducted an investigation and discovered that both fast food restaurant operators had been purchasing supplies from a company operating in an unhealthy environment, and even supplied expired meat and chicken to the restaurants held by both companies in China. However, the general opinion was that it was a short-term problem for both companies, so an increase in popularity of the stock among investors can be explained by lower stock prices, which provided funds with an opportunity to buy shares. In addition, during the fourth quarter of 2014, Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) had to write down the assets of Little Sheep, which resulted in a charge of some $361 million. Nevertheless, the company expects to recover its business in China and to further expand its network by opening over 2,000 international restaurants during the current year.

On the next spot is the $6 billion coating and paint producer Axalta Coating Systems Ltd (NYSE:AXTA). Soros and Point72 disclosed holding 556,700 shares and 205,100 shares respectively, the values of their stakes amounting to $14.49 million and $5.34 million respectively. The company went public in November and since its stock has appreciated by over 29% since. Moreover, Axalta Coating Systems Ltd (NYSE:AXTA) has quickly gained the attention of investors, as a total of 23 funds among those that we track reported holding around $405.86 million worth of stock. Among other investors of Axalta are Robert Joseph Caruso’s Select Equity Group, Dinakar Singh’s TPG-Axon Management, and Neil Chriss’ Hutchin Hill Capital, which are the three largest shareholders of Axalta Coating Systems Ltd (NYSE:AXTA) from our database. As the company went public, the majority of analysts initiated coverage with bullish ratings of ‘Outperform’ or ‘Buy’, and the average target price for the stock amounts to $31.30.

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