In a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, billionaire Leon Cooperman‘s Omega Advisors disclosed increasing its stake in New Senior Investment Group Inc (NYSE:SNR) to 3.41 million shares, an increase of about 30% from 2.6 million shares that the fund previously owned at the end of the fourth quarter. Besides this new development, we are going to look at Cooperman’s top technology picks from the investor’s equity portfolio including, Motorola Solutions Inc (NYSE:MSI), eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Loral Space & Communications Ltd. (NASDAQ:LORL).
While on the outset it might seem a good idea to follow the top picks of some of the most esteemed money managers, our research has disclosed something to the contrary. Using 13F filings for the period between 2009 and 2012 we uncovered that an equally weighted portfolio that consists of 50 most popular hedge fund picks during this period in fact underperformed the market by nearly 7.0 basis points per month. However, the 15 most popular small cap stocks among hedge funds outperformed the market by nearly a percentage point during the same period. The same strategy also beat the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by a staggering 76.7 percentage points since August 2012 through March 2015 and returned 132%. With a market cap of $1.47 billion Loral Space & Communications Ltd. (NASDAQ:LORL) is the only small cap on this list and hence definitely worth a look.
Leon Cooperman, a former chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management founded his hedge fund in 1991 with $450 million in capital. As of February 2015 Omega had nearly $9.4 billion under management while the market value of its portfolio stood at $6.0 billion towards the end of 2014. The investment manager is known to combine macro view with fundamental valuation as part of his investment strategy. The portfolio is concentrated in finance with 28% of the holdings accounting for the sector. Information technology forms 12% of Omega’s portfolio value.
An increase of 11% in eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY)‘s stake during the fourth quarter took the holding in Mr. Cooperman’s equity portfolio to 3.53 million shares valued at $198.08 million. This made the technology company that enables commerce through marketplaces, payments and enterprise, the largest holding of Cooperman in the technology sector. Among the billionaires that we track, 16 had investments in eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) totaling $6.73 billion at the end of the fourth quarter. Activist investor, Carl Icahn of Icahn Capital Lp was one of them as he held some 46.27 million shares valued at $2.60 billion.
eBay is finally going to split its payment arm PayPal this year after CEO, John Donahoe fought off Carl Icahn in early 2014 on the same proposition. PayPal was recently reported to purchase Paydiant for approximately $280 million. Paydiant provides a platform enabling retailers to create their own mobile wallet apps, including payments, loyalty card and digital coupon support. This puts PayPal in direct competition with Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Samsung’s recently acquired LoopPay.
Representing 2.77% of Omega’s portfolio value, Motorola Solutions Inc (NYSE:MSI)‘s stake stood at 2.47 million shares valued at $166 million. The stock is marginally up by 1.6% during last year. The $13.96 billion company designs, manufactures, and sells communications infrastructure, devices, system software and applications, and provides services associated with their use. Motorola Solutions Inc (NYSE:MSI)’s fourth quarter financial results included Earnings per Share (EPS) of $1.25, which was $0.14 ahead of estimates and $1.82 billion in revenues which beat estimates by $40 million.
The popularity of the stock among hedge funds improved slightly as 34 of them held positions in the company as compared to 32 a quarter earlier. William B. Gray of Orbis Investment Management held 17.97 million shares valued at $1.21 billion.
Moving on to Omega’s third largest technology holding, Loral Space & Communications Ltd. (NASDAQ:LORL), in which Mr. Cooperman’s stake consists of 973,100 shares valued at $76.60 million. Loral is a satellite communications company engaged in satellite manufacturing with ownership interests in satellite-based communications service. The company’s stock price is down by about 10% over the last 52 weeks. In late November last year, Bloomberg reported that the Canadian Public Sector Pension Investment Board was close to a $7 billion deal to buy Telesat, Canadian satellite network owner in which Loral Space & Communications Ltd. (NASDAQ:LORL) has a considerable stake. This would value Loral at $85/ share. Recently, Reuters reported that Loral had hired i-bank Perella Weinberg for help in selling its Telesat stake. Mark Rachesky of MHR Fund Management owns about 8.13 million shares of Loral valued at $639.89 million.
Let’s also take a look at Mr. Cooperman’s latest move in New Senior Investment Group Inc (NYSE:SNR), which held its IPO in late October last year, and the stock is down nearly 16% since then. The real estate investment trust (REIT) with a portfolio of senior housing properties across the United States reported revenues of $70.38 million in its fourth quarter financial results. Billionaire Israel Englander held some 411,000 shares of New Senior Investment Group at the end of 2014.