Do Hedge Funds and Insiders Love Manchester United PLC (MANU)?

Is Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU) a bargain? Investors who are in the know are getting less optimistic. The number of bullish hedge fund bets dropped by 2 recently.

Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU)

In the eyes of most stock holders, hedge funds are perceived as slow, outdated financial tools of the past. While there are more than 8000 funds trading at the moment, we at Insider Monkey hone in on the moguls of this group, around 450 funds. It is estimated that this group has its hands on most of all hedge funds’ total asset base, and by paying attention to their best investments, we have formulated a number of investment strategies that have historically outstripped Mr. Market. Our small-cap hedge fund strategy beat the S&P 500 index by 18 percentage points per year for a decade in our back tests, and since we’ve started sharing our picks with our subscribers at the end of August 2012, we have beaten the S&P 500 index by 24 percentage points in 7 months (check out a sample of our picks).

Equally as important, optimistic insider trading activity is another way to parse down the investments you’re interested in. There are lots of stimuli for an upper level exec to get rid of shares of his or her company, but only one, very simple reason why they would initiate a purchase. Various academic studies have demonstrated the impressive potential of this method if piggybackers know where to look (learn more here).

Consequently, let’s take a look at the recent action regarding Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU).

What have hedge funds been doing with Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU)?

Heading into 2013, a total of 7 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of -22% from the previous quarter. With hedgies’ sentiment swirling, there exists a select group of noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes substantially.

Of the funds we track, Soros Fund Management, managed by George Soros, holds the largest position in Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU). Soros Fund Management has a $47.7 million position in the stock, comprising 0.6% of its 13F portfolio. On Soros Fund Management’s heels is Paul Ruddockáand Steve Heinz of Lansdowne Partners, with a $34 million position; 0.6% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Remaining hedge funds that are bullish include Noam Gottesman’s GLG Partners, Rob Citrone’s Discovery Capital Management and SAC Subsidiary’s CR Intrinsic Investors.

Judging by the fact that Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU) has experienced declining sentiment from the entirety of the hedge funds we track, logic holds that there is a sect of hedgies that elected to cut their full holdings in Q4. Interestingly, Ward Davis and Brian Agnew’s Caerus Global Investors said goodbye to the biggest position of all the hedgies we track, worth an estimated $0.8 million in stock., and D. E. Shaw of D E Shaw was right behind this move, as the fund dropped about $0.3 million worth. These bearish behaviors are interesting, as total hedge fund interest was cut by 2 funds in Q4.

How are insiders trading Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU)?

Insider buying is particularly usable when the company in focus has experienced transactions within the past 180 days. Over the latest half-year time period, Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU) has experienced zero unique insiders purchasing, and zero insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

Let’s also examine hedge fund and insider activity in other stocks similar to Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU). These stocks are Steinway Musical Instruments Inc (NYSE:LVB), Movado Group, Inc (NYSE:MOV), SHFL entertainment Inc (NASDAQ:SHFL), Fossil Inc (NASDAQ:FOSL), and Brunswick Corporation (NYSE:BC). All of these stocks are in the recreational goods, other industry and their market caps resemble MANU’s market cap.