Hedge fund managers, including billionaire investor George Soros, beefed up their holdings in Time Warner Cable in the second quarter, while legendary Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffett focused his attention on TWC’s suitor, Charter Communications.
According to CBS Marketwatch, Time Warner Cable, which agreed to be purchased by Charter in May in a deal valued at $78.7 billion, was one of the most popular stocks among hedge fund managers in the second quarter, using data from Whalewisdom.com. According to Whalewisdom.com, 7.7% of the 196 hedge funds they track took new interests in TWC during the period, adding about 16.7 million shares. Only pharmaceutical company Perrigo did better, with more than 10% of hedge fund managers taking new positions in that stock. About 6.6% of those firms also eliminated Time Warner Cable from their portfolios during that period, tops on the list.
Soros, most well-known for his currency bets in the 1990s that netted him billions – added 1.45 million shares of Time Warner Cable in the second quarter, according to Marketwatch.
Buffett seemed to be putting more faith in distribution that programming in the second quarter, as his Berkshire Hathaway bought more than 2.5 million shares of Charter Communications, and sold off more than 2.6 million shares of Viacom, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents.
In its quarterly 13F-HR filing made with the SEC, Berkshire revealed that it ended the second quarter with 8.5 million shares of Charter, up from the roughly 6 million shares it owned on March 31. At the same time, Berkshire reduced its holdings in troubled programmer Viacom from 8.3 million shares in March to about 5.7 million in June.
Charter, saw its stock fall 11% between March 31 and June 30, from $193.11 to $171.75 per share. The stock has since gained back some of that ground – it closed at $186.98 on Monday, up 4%. Viacom has been under pressure from declining ratings and ad sales. Its stock was down 5.4% between March 31 and June 30.
Berkshire Hathaway owns more than 80 companies and has an investment portfolio of about $170.8 billion. While it rejiggered its interests in Charter and Viacom, it held its positions steady in DirecTV (now AT&T) at 31.4 million shares; Liberty Media (9.4 million shares); 21st Century Fox (6.2 million shares) and Liberty Global (17.7 million shares).