Virgin Media Inc. (VMED), US Airways Group, Inc. (LCC): Billionaire George Soros’ First-Quarter Moves

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SOROS FUND MANAGEMENTBillionaire George Soros managed to return an average 30.5% per year between 1969 and 2000. Soros is best known for his Quantum Fund, which has one of the best performance records of any investment fund in the world over its 26-year history. Having invested a mere $1,000 in 1969 when Soros established the Quantum Fund would have been worth $4 million by the year 2000. Soros was shaking up his hedge fund last quarter; let’s check out his top moves (check out Soros’s recent moves).
Soros appears to be making a merger-arbitrage play by greatly upping his stake in Liberty Global Inc. (NASDAQ:LBTYA) and Virgin Media Inc. (NASDAQ:VMED) . Soros increased his shares owned by over 3,000% in Liberty and over 950% in Virgin.
Liberty offers customers a three-pronged service, including video, broadband, and telephone. Its triple-play customer base jumped some 15.8% year-over-year in 2012.  Earlier this year, Liberty announced that it would acquire Virgin Media Inc. (NASDAQ:VMED). The deal is expected to be on an enterprise value of nearly $23.3 billion. The deal would put Liberty as a foremost competitor to BSkyB, which is the largest pay-TV operator of the U.K.

Virgin plans on doubling its revenue from the business segment within the next five years, using its cloud-computing services. Virgin Media Inc. (NASDAQ:VMED) also offers customers a service called TV Anywhere, which means that customers can view live TV shows using their mobile devices.

Even still, Virgin trades at a 20.5 times P/E and only 17.1 times forward earnings, both discounts to the industry averages. I think the long-term prospects for Virgin Media Inc. (NASDAQ:VMED) are encouraging and believe a Liberty-Virgin merger will make for a powerhouse in the industry. Virgin Media is also one of billionaire Dan Loeb’s top picks as of 1Q (check out Loeb’s top stocks).

Flying high
One of Soros small-cap picks was US Airways Group, Inc. (NYSE:LCC) . After a 98% increase in shares owned during the first quarter, US Airways now makes up Soros’ eighth-largest holding. Revenue for the airline company was up 6% in 2012 and should be up another 5% in 2013. US Airways Group, Inc. (NYSE:LCC) is also performing well of late, managing to post EPS of $0.31 compared to the $0.13 loss in the same quarter last year.

What’s more is that the industry should see a rise in fares as capacity cuts over the past three years begin to impact pricing. Decelerating costs will also be another tailwind for US Airways Group, Inc. (NYSE:LCC), where jet fuel costs spiked 28% in 2011 but only grew 3% in 2012; and another 3% rise is expected in 2013. However, the other big news drawing hedge funds to this stock is the merger with AMR’s American Airlines. This will help US Airways garner a solid international network.

Big tech

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is now Soros’ second-largest holding after a 78% increase in shares owned during the first quarter. One of the most dangerous competitors to Google appears to be Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), which is becoming a formidable competitor in the online-advertising market.
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