George Soros’ Soros Fund Management recently made public its long equity positions for the third quarter of 2014. Looking at its 13F filing, it was its new stakes that caught my eye. Between July 1 and September 30, the firm purchased 84 new stocks, increased its wages on another 74 equities, and sold out of 181 positions. In this article we will look into its top 3 new investments for the third quarter of the year (excluding options and corporate debt): Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), and Travelport Worldwide Ltd (NYSE:TVPT).
Soros Fund Management is a privately-held New York-based investment management firm founded by legendary George Soros in 1969. Once a hedge fund, it is now structured as a family office. Its returns have been spectacular: George Soros returned an average of 30.5% per year between 1969 and 2000. In 2007, Soros came back from retirement after the quant liquidity crunch and managed to generate a 32% return for the year. Soros even managed to return 8% in 2008, the worst year for most hedge funds. Soros also returned 29% in 2009, earning $3.3 billion in fees and investment gains. Its current equity portfolio is worth about $13.3 billion.
Soros’ largest new bet for the third quarter was placed on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), the $283.97 billion market cap online and mobile commerce company that has been all over the news since its September IPO. According to the filing, the firm acquired 4.4 million shares of the Internet company; its holdings, worth approximately $390.9 million, account for 2.92% of its total equity portfolio.
Another major institutional investor bullish on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) is Andreas Halvorsen’s Viking Global, which disclosed ownership of 11.38 million shares of the company by the end of the third quarter. The company is also amongst Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management’s top new picks (the fund owns about 1.21 million shares).
Second in line is a company that is highly related to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA): Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), which owns a 15% stake in Alibaba, after having selling some of its shares in the Chinese company’s IPO.
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) is a $48.98 billion market cap global technology company that saw Soros Fund Management buy 5.05 million shares, worth about $205 million, over the third quarter. Also purchasing Yahoo’s stock is D. E. Shaw; the fund acquired 3.37 million shares over the quarter, and now owns 19.56 million shares of Common Stock. Also starting a new position between July and September, inclusive, was Jeffrey Smith’s Starboard Value Lp. Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) was amongst his top new picks as well. Meanwhile, Yahoo continues to try to make more money out of Alibaba.
Travelport Worldwide Ltd (NYSE:TVPT) came in third. This $1.9 billion market cap travel commerce marketplace that went public on late-September felt Soros’ bullishness, as the firm acquired 2.8 million shares, worth about $46 million.
In addition to feeling Soros’ and insiders’ bullishness, Travelport Worldwide Ltd (NYSE:TVPT) saw other major institutional investors arrive recently. Amongst them we should mention Geoffrey Raynor’s Q Investments (Scepter Holdings), which declared ownership of 9.64 million Common Shares, which represent approximately 8% of the company’s outstanding stock by the end of the third quarter.
Disclosure: Javier Hasse holds no positions in any stocks or funds mentioned
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