Hedge Funds Nibbling On Liberty Global plc (LBTYA)

The latest 13F reporting period has come and gone, and Insider Monkey is again at the forefront when it comes to making use of this gold mine of data. We at Insider Monkey have plowed through 821 13F filings that hedge funds and well-known value investors are required to file by the SEC. The 13F filings show the funds’ and investors’ portfolio positions as of March 31st, a week after the market trough. In this article we look at what those investors think of Liberty Global plc (NASDAQ:LBTYA).

Liberty Global plc (NASDAQ:LBTYA) investors should be aware of an increase in activity from the world’s largest hedge funds of late. LBTYA was in 30 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of March. There were 27 hedge funds in our database with LBTYA positions at the end of the previous quarter. Our calculations also showed that LBTYA isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q1 rankings and see the video for a quick look at the top 5 stocks).

Video: Watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.

Hedge funds’ reputation as shrewd investors has been tarnished in the last decade as their hedged returns couldn’t keep up with the unhedged returns of the market indices. Our research was able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that outperformed the S&P 500 ETFs by more than 58 percentage points since March 2017 (see the details here). We were also able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that’ll significantly underperform the market. We have been tracking and sharing the list of these stocks since February 2017 and they lost 36% through May 18th. That’s why we believe hedge fund sentiment is an extremely useful indicator that investors should pay attention to.


Seth Klarman of Baupost Group

With all of this in mind let’s analyze the new hedge fund action regarding Liberty Global plc (NASDAQ:LBTYA).

What have hedge funds been doing with Liberty Global plc (NASDAQ:LBTYA)?

At Q1’s end, a total of 30 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held long positions in this stock, a change of 11% from one quarter earlier. Below, you can check out the change in hedge fund sentiment towards LBTYA over the last 18 quarters. So, let’s check out which hedge funds were among the top holders of the stock and which hedge funds were making big moves.

Of the funds tracked by Insider Monkey, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has the biggest position in Liberty Global plc (NASDAQ:LBTYA), worth close to $318.8 million, comprising 0.2% of its total 13F portfolio. The second largest stake is held by Route One Investment Company, led by William Duhamel, holding a $139.6 million position; 4.6% of its 13F portfolio is allocated to the company. Some other members of the smart money that are bullish encompass Seth Klarman’s Baupost Group, Antoine Firmenich and Richard Vogel’s Alatus Capital and Renaissance Technologies. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Alatus Capital allocated the biggest weight to Liberty Global plc (NASDAQ:LBTYA), around 46.75% of its 13F portfolio. Route One Investment Company is also relatively very bullish on the stock, setting aside 4.58 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to LBTYA.

With a general bullishness amongst the heavyweights, key money managers have jumped into Liberty Global plc (NASDAQ:LBTYA) headfirst. Engineers Gate Manager, managed by Greg Eisner, initiated the biggest position in Liberty Global plc (NASDAQ:LBTYA). Engineers Gate Manager had $2.4 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Ryan Tolkin (CIO)’s Schonfeld Strategic Advisors also initiated a $1.3 million position during the quarter. The other funds with brand new LBTYA positions are Jinghua Yan’s TwinBeech Capital, Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management, and Paul Tudor Jones’s Tudor Investment Corp.

Let’s go over hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as Liberty Global plc (NASDAQ:LBTYA) but similarly valued. We will take a look at Insulet Corporation (NASDAQ:PODD), Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:OXY), Pembina Pipeline Corp (NYSE:PBA), and Icahn Enterprises LP (NASDAQ:IEP). All of these stocks’ market caps are similar to LBTYA’s market cap.

Ticker No of HFs with positions Total Value of HF Positions (x1000) Change in HF Position
PODD 36 648302 2
OXY 35 1384528 -9
PBA 15 52363 -2
IEP 3 9602364 -1
Average 22.25 2921889 -2.5

View table here if you experience formatting issues.

As you can see these stocks had an average of 22.25 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $2922 million. That figure was $813 million in LBTYA’s case. Insulet Corporation (NASDAQ:PODD) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Icahn Enterprises LP (NASDAQ:IEP) is the least popular one with only 3 bullish hedge fund positions. Liberty Global plc (NASDAQ:LBTYA) is not the most popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still above average. Our calculations showed that top 10 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 41.4% in 2019 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 10.1 percentage points. These stocks gained 8.3% in 2020 through the end of May but still beat the market by 13.2 percentage points. Hedge funds were also right about betting on LBTYA as the stock returned 28.6% in Q2 (through the end of May) and outperformed the market. Hedge funds were rewarded for their relative bullishness.

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Disclosure: None. This article was originally published at Insider Monkey.