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Stocks  | August 28, 2020

The past few months have been a roller-coaster ride for investors, who watched the major indices plummet in February and March, only to rebound past record levels between June and August.

One group of investors that has benefited greatly from this turnaround in the markets are America's billionaires. For the week of Aug. 17-21, for instance, Tesla CEO Elon Musk's net worth grew by $15 billion over five days of trading. The 10 billionaires with the largest increases in worth grew $53.4 billion wealthier; seven of them were American.

Another group of billionaires – operators of hedge funds and investment management firms – have also seen their wealth increase. And to do so, many of these "hedgies" have been busy making alterations to their portfolios. Whether it be taking profits, cutting losses, trimming stakes, or exiting positions altogether, the world's top investors continue to look ahead, rather than behind, where the markets are going, not where they've been.

Here are 25 stocks the billionaire set sold off over the past few months. Every quarter, we look at 13F filings from institutional investors to discover not only some of their favorite investing ideas – but also which stocks they're souring on. At least one billionaire (though in many cases, several) dumped anywhere between 10% to 100% of their holdings in the following 25 stocks.

Howard Hughes

  • Market value: $3.2 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Bill Ackman (Pershing Square Capital)
  • Shares sold: 1,279,381 (-10%)

Bill Ackman made several sales during the second quarter, including almost 1.3 million shares of Houston-based Howard Hughes (HHC, $57.74), a real estate company that specializes in master-planned residential communities such as The Woodlands in Texas; Summerlin in Nevada; and Downtown Columbia in Maryland.

Before selling shares in the second quarter, Howard Hughes represented 9.4% of the Pershing Square investment portfolio. It still owns 10.9 million shares – a nearly 20% ownership stake that represents 7.3% of Pershing Square's portfolio.

It's hard to see Ackman exiting Howard Hughes completely anytime soon, however; he is the chairman, after all.

But the company has been through a rough patch. HHC booted longtime CEO David Weinreb and President Grant Herlitz in October 2019, and shares have more than half their value this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ackman first acquired shares in Howard Hughes in 2010 after it was spun off from General Growth Properties.

Berkshire Hathaway

  • Market value: $513.2 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Bill & Melinda Gates (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust)
  • Shares sold: 5,000,000 (-11%)

The amazing thing about the Gates Foundation's roughly $1 billion sale of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B, $214.66) stock in the second quarter was that it was the only sale or purchase by the foundation.

Despite the fact that the foundation sold 5 million shares, reducing its holdings in BRK.B by 11%, it remains the foundation's largest position by far. It represents just under 40% of the $17.9 billion reported in its most recent 13F.

The Gates Foundation first owned Berkshire stock in the third quarter of 2006. It has paid an estimated average price of $135.25 for the Class B shares over the past 14 years. Based on 39.9 million shares held at the end of the second quarter, the foundation sits on approximately $3.2 billion in unrealized gains.

The foundation's largest positions after that are Waste Management (WM) at 11.1% and Canadian National Railway (CNI) at 8.5%, both of which also have significant unrealized gains.

By the way, Bill and Melinda Gates were far from alone in ditching Berkshire. The aforementioned Pershing Square sold 100% of its $1 billion investment in Berkshire Hathaway in May to free up cash if the markets corrected. That was a quarter after Ackman had increased his stake by 1.4 million shares.

Univar Solutions

  • Market value: $3.1 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Chris Hohn (TCI Fund Management)
  • Shares sold: 3,210,221 (-20%)

TCI sold 20% of its holdings in Univar Solutions (UNVR, $18.24), a global distributor of chemicals, cleaning solutions and ingredients, during the second quarter. Shares had plunged by more than 55% from the start of 2020 through the end of the first quarter, and their recovery has been slower than the rest of the market's, with UNVR still off 25% year-to-date.

Those losses didn't ding TCI up too badly – Univar is a tiny portion of TCI's $25.2 billion investment portfolio. The asset manager's largest holding is Charter Communications (CHTR), worth $5.3 billion at the end of the second quarter.

In addition to the 20% cut in Univar during the quarter, the fund manager's holdings in Raytheon were converted into Raytheon Technologies (RTX) stock when it merged with the remaining unit of United Technologies that wasn't spun off in early April, to form a company with $74 billion in pro forma 2019 sales.

Raytheon shareholders received 2.2348 RTX shares for every RTN share. TCI ended the second quarter with 11.6 million RTX shares worth approximately $711.8 million, representing 2.8% of its entire portfolio.

Alibaba

  • Market value: $789.9 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Baillie Gifford
  • Shares sold: 10,389,759 (-20%)

Baillie Gifford is a large U.K. investment management firm that manages $131 billion in assets at last check. Its largest holding as of the second quarter is Tesla (TSLA), with 11.8 million shares.

The electronic vehicle maker overtook Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA, $291.96), which was demoted to Baillie Gifford's third-largest position after it sold 20% of its shares in Q2. Even then, the firm owns 40.8 million shares worth approximately $8.8 billion, taking up a still-sizable 6.8% of assets.

Baillie Gifford first started accumulating BABA stock in the third quarter of 2014. It's estimated to have paid an average of $98.55 a share, indicating that the firm was taking some profits on its long-time investment.

Alibaba is doing just fine. Its most recent earnings showed revenue growth of 34% to $21.8 billion, while adjusted profits of $5.6 billion were up 28% year-over-year. The company finished the first quarter with free cash flow of $5.2 billion, up 39% YoY.

No wonder Baillie Gifford has hung on to most of its Alibaba shares.

PG&E

  • Market value: $17.6 billion
  • Billionaire investor: David Tepper (Appaloosa Management)
  • Shares sold: 2,396,341 (-21%)

In the second quarter, David Tepper's Appaloosa Management sold almost 2.4 million shares of troubled California utility PG&E (PCG, $8.87). While it wasn't Appaloosa's largest share sale of the quarter, it still was a notable 21% reduction.

The billionaire owner of the Carolina Panthers, worth $13 billion at last check, paid approximately $22.25 a share on average for its stake, which remains the portfolio's 20th-largest position. Appaloosa first bought PCG shares in the fourth quarter of 2017. 

Appaloosa, along with Third Point LLC and other investors, participated in a June private placement that raised $3.25 billion for the utility. The shares were purchased on July 1, the day PG&E emerged from bankruptcy. The company used the proceeds from the private placement to fund its exit financing. 

The private placement is part of PG&E's bankruptcy reorganization. In late June, it raised an additional $5.5 billion through two public offerings. The first raised $4 billion from the sale of shares at $9.50 apiece. The second sale raised $1.5 billion from equity units paying $5.5% interest and possessing a conversion premium of 22.5%.

Nexstar Media Group

  • Market value: $4.2 billion
  • Billionaire investor: P2 Capital Partners
  • Shares sold: 379,491 (-22%)

P2 Capital Partners is a New York-based hedge fund that manages approximately $2.3 billion. And it sold five stocks during the second quarter, including Nexstar Media Group (NXST, $93.25) – the largest local broadcast television group in the U.S.

NXST still is investment manager's third-largest holding, with 1.3 million shares representing 9.2% of its assets. Other significant sales by P2 Capital in the quarter included SP Plus (SP) and Brink's Company (BCO).

P2 Capital first bought NXST stock in the third quarter of 2017 and has paid an average price of $80.19 per share. Of all the 13F filers, P2 Capital was one of 17 investment managers and billionaire investors to hold Nexstar Media in their top 10. When it comes to institutional ownership of Nexstar Media, P2 Capital is the eighth-largest owner of NXST's shares.

Nexstar enjoyed a predictably big boost from political ads in the second quarter. As a result, its television advertising revenue increased by 18.1% to $319.8 million. With political spending on ads expected to set a record in 2020, it's a wonder P2 sold any shares at all.

Anheuser-Busch InBev

  • Market value: $116.9 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Gardner Russo & Gardner
  • Shares sold: 1,898,364 (-23%)

Investment manager Gardner Russo & Gardner sold approximately 23% of its shares in Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD, $59.33), the world's largest brewer, during the second quarter. (Note: Gardner Russo invests in BUDFF shares, which are traded "over-the-counter.")

The brewer's stock still represents 3% of the almost $10 billion in assets Gardner Russo manages for clients, which make it the 13th-largest holding in the equity portfolio. The investment manager first started buying BUDFF stock in 2016's third quarter.

While Whalewisdom.com doesn't provide an average price paid for the stock. But unless Gardner Russo was dollar-cost averaging in a significant way or buying in and out of stock, there is little chance it's made money on its investment. Between the end of Q3 2016 and Aug. 24, 2020, BUDFF had lost 56% of its value.

Anheuser-Busch, which currently commands 41% of the U.S. beer market, is having difficulty growing this part of the business. That's a large reason why it's spending $100 million on hard seltzers, the latest trend in alcoholic beverages.

In April, Drinks Business magazine estimated that Bud Light Seltzer had already grabbed 9% market share since launching in January. Add its Bon & Viv brand, and Anheuser-Busch's market share jumps to a respectable 16.4%, trailing only Truly (21.8%) and White Claw, the runaway leader at 58.6%.

Unfortunately, JPMorgan Cazenove analysts believe Bud Light Seltzer might be too late to fully benefit from the craze. "Mainstream hard seltzer should take increasing share from mainstream beer … meaning seltzer is more likely to cannibalize its beer portfolio," they write.

McKesson

  • Market value: $24.7 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Larry Robbins (Glenview Capital Management)
  • Shares sold: 423,430 (-25%)

Glenview Capital Management, managed by billionaire Larry Robbins, finished the second quarter with $3.6 billion invested in a concentrated portfolio of 44 stocks. Drug wholesaler McKesson (MCK, $152.08) – recently highlighted as one of several safe dividend stocks – remains the hedge fund's seventh-largest holding even after Glenview cut its holdings by a quarter.

Glenview owns 1.2 million MCK shares, representing 5.0% of the equity portfolio. It began accumulating shares in Q4 2016 at an average price of $146.50. McKesson's midpoint during the second quarter was $143.14, though in early June, it traded above $160, so it's feasible that the 25% reduction likely occurred in a profitable trade for the hedge fund.

On Aug. 14, McKesson announced it would be a central distributor to carry out the Trump administration's plan to distribute vaccines and related supplies to Americans. The company's original contract with the Department of Health and Human Services began in 2017. The contract extension could be worth $300 million in revenue for the company.

Wells Fargo

  • Market value: $99.0 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway)
  • Shares sold: 85,630,213 (-26%)

It might seem as though Warren Buffett and Berkshire have remained loyal to Wells Fargo (WFC, $24.04) over the years. But the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio's second-quarter dump was just the latest cut to its holdings in the troubled bank. Since the beginning of 2018, Buffett has sold more than half his WFC shares, which at one time were worth more than $32 billion.

Berkshire Hathaway still owns 245.6 million shares of Wells Fargo's stock, making it the seventh-largest position in the company's $202 billion equity portfolio. That's also good for a 6% stake in the American mega-bank.

Some suggest Buffett's moves are an indication that he has soured on bank stocks. Berkshire also sold 61% of its stake in JPMorgan Chase (JPM) during the second quarter, and it also trimmed positions in U.S. Bancorp (USB), Bank of New York Mellon (BK) and PNC Financial Services (PNC).

But perhaps Buffett's most interesting move during Q2 was an addition: a new $563 million stake in Barrick Gold (GOLD). Although the purchase represents a mere 0.28% of the entire portfolio, it's an indication that Berkshire has changed its tune about the markets – and its longstanding view on the yellow metal.

Nvidia

  • Market value: $315.2 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Baillie Gifford
  • Shares sold: 1,983,457 (-27%)

This second big sale from Baillie Gifford is another example of profit-taking from the Edinburgh-based investment manager. The sale of almost 2 million Nvidia (NVDA, $510.92) shares during the second quarter reduced its weighting in the chipmaker from 2.1% in the first quarter to 1.6% in the second. 

Baillie Gifford has been accumulating NVDA shares since the first quarter of 2016 at an average price of $86.32 per share. So the sale of nearly 2 million shares at an average price of $300 during the second quarter would have netted the investment firm more than $420 million in capital gains and still left it with 5.4 million shares worth more than $2.7 billion.

Nvidia announced in August that during the second quarter, the company's data-center business delivered more revenue than its gaming business for the first time in its history. It has the acquisition of Mellanox Technologies in late April to thank, at least in part, for that.

Investors continue to debate Nvidia's valuation. NVDA trades at almost 50 times next year's earnings estimates, making it the third-most-expensive stock in the PHLX Semiconductor Index. Despite these concerns, it's still rated a Buy by 34 out of the 42 analysts covering the company.

Given Nvidia's popularity with analysts, it's no wonder its stock is up 117% in 2020.

Amazon.com

  • Market value: $1.72 trillion
  • Billionaire investor: Marshall Wace LLP
  • Shares sold: 47,657 (-28%)

London-based investment advisor Marshall Wace got its start in 1997. As of 2019, it managed $39 billion in assets. In 2015, it brought on KKR as a 25% partner, and that has since been bumped up to nearly 40%.

However, following Marshall Wace's paper trail takes a bit of patience. That's because it has two 13F forms. One is for Marshall Wace LLP. The other is for Marshall Wace North America LP.

The U.K. division of Marshall Wace has been accumulating shares in e-commerce behemoth Amazon.com (AMZN, $3,441.85) since the first quarter of 2014, at an average price paid of $1,849.66. It reduced its holdings by 28% during the second quarter by selling 47,657 shares. If Marshall Wace sold at the midpoint of Amazon's trading range, between $1,889.15 and $2,796.00, it generated more than $111 million in proceeds.

The investment firm is merely taking a few chips off the table. AMZN shares have gained 86% year-to-date, sending CEO Jeff Bezos' net worth up to $200 billion.

Despite the stock sales, Amazon is Marshall Wace's largest holding at 2.3% of the portfolio.

Anglogold Ashanti

  • Market value: $12.2 billion
  • Billionaire investor: John Paulson (Paulson & Co.)
  • Shares sold: 4,375,000 (-38%)

Anglogold Ashanti (AU, $29.21) is one of the world's largest gold miners in Africa, Australia and the Americas. It is the sixth-largest holding of Paulson & Co. – run by John Paulson who's currently worth about $4.2 billion – despite a 38% reduction of its stake in Q2.

With a high of $29.58 and a low of $16 for AU shares during the quarter, the sale likely generated proceeds of close to or exceeding $100 million at the midpoint. That represents approximately 3.2% of its $3.1 billion portfolio.

Paulson & Co. first acquired the gold miner's stock in the first quarter of 2009, and has traded in and out of it ever since, paying an average price of $34.07 per share.

Earlier in 2020, AngloGold announced that it would exit its operations in South Africa, agreeing to sell them to Harmony Gold (HMY) for $300 million. The South African government has requested that AngloGold retain its headquarters in South Africa and its listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to receive regulatory approval for the sale to go ahead.

AU shares are up more than 30% year-to-date, though they've fallen considerably over the past month as gold's rally has cooled off.

Herbalife

  • Market value: $6.6 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Carl Icahn
  • Shares sold: 14,722,025 (-41%)

Although Carl Icahn didn't officially throw in the towel on Hertz Global Holdings (HTZ) until the second quarter, Kiplinger discussed his $2 billion loss in June. So instead, we'll discuss his sale of Herbalife (HLF, $49.91) stock instead.

Herbalife remains a top-10 holding, but Icahn's 41% reduction in HLF is a signal that the billionaire is getting ready to move on.

Icahn famously had a very public fight with fellow billionaire Bill Ackman over the nutritional supplement maker. Ackman called the company a pyramid scheme, while Icahn argued it was a well-run, legitimate company.

Icahn won, and Ackman lost.

But instead of moving on after Ackman exited his bet in 2018, Icahn continued to hold on to his HLF shares and remains the company's largest institutional investor.

Herbalife repurchased the stock that Ackman sold during the quarter at an average share price of $48.75. Icahn recently stated that an investment made in the company when it first got involved in 2013 and held through Aug. 11, would have generated 200%.

Baxter International

  • Market value: $42.7 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Daniel Loeb (Third Point)
  • Shares sold: 7,580,000 (-65%)

Baxter International (BAX, $84.35) was easily Third Point's highest-profile sale during the second quarter. The hedge fund sold 65% of its holdings in Baxter, reducing its weighting from 15.0% to 4.6%. However, it still is Third Point's eighth-largest holding.

Third Point started accumulating Baxter shares in the second quarter of 2015, paying an average price of $35.18 along the way. That suggests billionaire Daniel Loeb's hedge fund was selling shares to take a profit in the quarter.

Third Point delivered its second-quarter shareholder letter on Aug. 6. In it, Dan Loeb credited its success (up 10.8% in Q2), in part, to the excellent entry point it got on Baxter stock at a time when the health care company was transforming into a more profitable and growing business. His investors benefited greatly from the timing.

On June 1, Third Point celebrated its 25th year in business –  a journey that has made the activist investor worth nearly $3.9 billion.

Gannett

  • Market value: $216.7 million
  • Billionaire investor: Leon Cooperman (Omega Advisors)
  • Shares sold: 6,051,052 (-76%)

Leon Cooperman got out of managing money for clients in 2018, converting Omega Advisors into a family office. At the end of the second quarter, Cooperman's 13F reported total security holdings worth $873.9 million in 40 different stocks.

During the second quarter, Cooperman reduced or closed out his investment in 12 stocks. In terms of shares sold, newspaper giant Gannett (GCI, $1.59) – which boasts USA Today and papers in 27 states – was the billionaire's largest sale. Omega unloaded 6.1 million shares, or 76% of his holdings in the troubled media company, to bring Gannett to a mere 0.3% holding.

Cooperman first bought Gannett stock in the first quarter of 2014. He's estimated to have paid an average price of $7.87 a share. Needless to say, it hasn't been a winning bet. To make matters worse, Cooperman bought 336,229 shares of Gannett in the first quarter, upping his stake to 7.88 million shares from 7.54 million at the end of 2019.

Gannett ended the second quarter with revenue of $767.0 million and a net loss of $436.9 million.

Athene Holding

  • Market value: $7.1 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Chase Coleman III (Tiger Global Management)
  • Shares sold: 6,026,626 (-80%)

Chase Coleman III runs Tiger Global Management. Coleman is one of the so-called "Tiger Cubs" because he worked for Tiger Management – run by the famed investor Julian Robertson – before going out on his own. Today, Tiger Global manages more than $41 billion in assets for 19 large clients.

In the second quarter, the hedge fund sold 80% of its holdings in Athene Holding (ATH, $36.93), a company specializing in the sale of annuities and funding agreements. Athene only made up 1.1% of the portfolio before the sale, so it wasn't a huge position. But it was the hedge fund's biggest sale in terms of number of shares sold, and it still represented well more than $200 million in proceeds.

Athene has struggled since going public in December 2016 at $40 per share. Its shares are off about 8% in that time; for comparison's sake, the S&P 500 is up 57%. However, Tiger Global is estimated to have paid an average price of $24.82 for Athene stock since taking a position during the brief market meltdown of mid-March, so this was a case of profit-taking.

Vici Properties

  • Market value: $12.2 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Leon Black (Apollo Global Management)
  • Shares sold: 9,971,717 (-81%)

Vici Properties (VICI, $22.78) is the real estate investment trust (REIT) spun off from Caesars Entertainment (CZR) in October 2017. The REIT's properties are leased to Caesars brands, including Caesars, Harrah's and Bally's. They represent more than 39 million square feet of space, including 1.2 million for gaming. 

In the second quarter, Apollo reduced its position in VICI by 81%. VICI accounted for 2.7% of Apollo's assets as of the end of the first quarter, but the sale of almost 10 million shares dropped that to 0.5%.

Leon Black's private equity firm has been accumulating VICI stock since the first quarter of 2018 at an estimated average price of $17.49 per share. It likely did a lot of its selling during early June, when VICI traded above $22.

Shares have rebounded nicely since the start of May – about 38%, to the S&P 500's 23%.

iShares MSCI Brazil ETF

  • Assets under management: $5.3 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Ray Dalio (Bridgewater Associates)
  • Shares sold: 7,718,720 (-94%)

Just as it did in the first quarter, Ray Dalio's Bridgewater Associates sold a number of exchange-traded funds during Q2. The asset management firm's top five sales were all funds. The largest in terms of number of shares was the iShares MSCI Brazil ETF (EWZ, $29.32).

EWZ accounted for 3.8% of Bridgewater's almost $6 billion in assets as of the end of the first quarter. But after selling 7.7 million shares in Q2, EWZ accounted for just 0.22% of the portfolio.

The Brazilian ETF traded at a high of $33.35 during the quarter and a low of $21.12. Dalio is said to have first owned EWZ in the first quarter of 2016, and has paid an estimated average price of $40.72 per share.

This was the continuation of a multi-quarter spate of sales for Bridgewater. As recently as the third quarter of 2019, the firm held 12.7 million shares of EWZ. Now, it's down to less than a half-million shares.

Bridgewater continues to use ETFs for both core holdings – its largest holding is the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), at 26.1% of theportfolio – and tactical allocations such as EWZ.

Oracle

  • Market value: $176.4 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Eagle Capital Management
  • Shares sold: 6,156,556 (-98%)

The New York-based investment manager sold out of 20 (mostly minuscule) positions during Q2 … and Oracle (ORCL, $57.49) was close to being No. 21.

Eagle Capital Management's 13F said it had $27.3 billion invested in 55 stocks at the end of the second quarter. That includes a tiny 112,573 shares of Oracle stock – its remaining stake after ditching 98% of its Q1 position.

Eagle began accumulating ORCL stock in the fourth quarter of 2011 at an average price of $32.13 per share. Oracle traded at a high of $55.97 per share during the second quarter, and a low of $46.04, so the firm likely made a reasonable profit on its sale.

The investment manager's largest position at the end of the second quarter was Microsoft (MSFT) – a $2.9 billion stake that accounted for 10.6% of its investment portfolio.

Eagle Capital has always managed its clients' money with a long-term approach, investing in a concentrated portfolio of large-cap stocks that it turns over very rarely. Oracle is a prime example of this strategy – its other sales were almost all on the periphery.

General Electric

  • Market value: $56.7 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Marshall Wace North America LP
  • Shares sold: 4,488,363 (-100%)

The North American arm of Marshall Wace sold every single share it owned in General Electric (GE, $6.48) during the second quarter.

The investment firm appears to be licking its wounds on this particular investment.

Marshall Wace North America started accumulating a position in the industrial conglomerate in Q2 2019. The company is thought to have paid an estimated average price of $8.96 per share. Except for a brief period in early June, GE stock hasn't traded above $8, so it's likely to have lost on this trade.

Fortunately, the GE position wasn't a big one, representing just 0.3% of Marshall Wace's portfolio during Q1.

Marshall Wace wasn't near being the largest seller of GE shares during the second quarter. That honor goes to Fidelity Investments, which sold a little more than 163 million shares, or nearly half of what it owned.

Hedge fund billionaire Jim Simons, founder of Renaissance Technologies, sold 64% of the firm's investment in GE during the second quarter, unloading over 27 million shares. Given the estimated average price paid by Renaissance is $10.39 per share, the hedge fund likely was just throwing in the towel. 

Altice USA

  • Market value: $15.6 billion
  • Billionaire investor: David Einhorn (Greenlight Capital)
  • Shares sold: 1,625,380 (-100%)

David Einhorn has been negative on Elon Musk and Tesla for a very long time. He has shorted TSLA stock for years in the belief that the company's quality issues are going to catch up with it. He also has problems with the electric vehicle stock's accounting practices.

He also turned negative on cable company Altice USA (ATUS, $26.94) during the second quarter. Altice was one of the hedge fund's larger positions, accounting for 5.16% of its investment portfolio as of the first quarter, before its Q2 exit.

Greenlight has paid $17.66 per share on average since it began buying ATUS shares during the third quarter of 2018. With share prices as high as $27 in the second quarter, it's easy to see why it exited the position; cable investments aren't generally high-growth businesses anymore.

The billionaire hedge-fund investor needed a win in the second quarter. While Greenlight delivered a 4.1% return in July, it was just the second month out of seven with positive returns in 2020. Year-to-date, the hedge fund is still down more than 10% on the year.

At Einhorn's peak of success, Greenlight was managing more than $12 billion.

Automatic Data Processing

  • Market value: $60.0 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Winslow Capital Management
  • Shares sold: 1,571,766 (-100%)

Winslow Capital Management manages more than $20.5 billion for its clients. None of that money is invested in Automatic Data Processing (ADP, $139.61) anymore.

During Q2, the Minneapolis-based investment manager sold 100% of its holdings in ADP, one of the world's leading providers of cloud-based human capital management solutions for employers of all sizes.

Amongst institutional investors who sold 100% of their ADP stock, Winslow owned the largest number of shares. Winslow first bought ADP during the fourth quarter of 2016, and it's estimated to have paid $117.27 per share, on average. ADP shares traded in the $140s for large spans of Q2, so it's likely Winslow made out OK.

ADP accounted for 1.4% of Winslow Capital Management's assets as of the first quarter. Of the 10 stocks Winslow closed out of in 2020, only one – Amgen (AMGN), 1.9% – had a higher weighting in Q1.

Centene

  • Market value: $34.4 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Lyrical Asset Management
  • Shares sold: 3,980,764 (-100%)

Lyrical Asset Management is a fundamental value investor that has managed money for clients since 2009. According to its Form ADV, it manages more than $7.4 billion.

During the second quarter, the asset manager's most significant sale by a mile was the 100% unloading of its holdings in Centene (CNC, $59.38). The managed-care firm represented 5.8% of Lyrical's equity portfolio in Q1 2020.

Lyrical opened its position in CNC shares during Q4 2019, paying an average price of $62.87 per share. Unless it sold most of its position in mid-April, when it traded above $70, it likely made a very modest profit on its position.

Lyrical made nine exits during the quarter, including bailing from Hertz, which it had owned since 2013. The firm paid an estimated $35.23 per share, so its Q2 exit – which would've been made at no better than about $6.30 per share – likely was a painful one.  

Centene is one of nine stocks that Lyrical exited during the second quarter.

Booking Holdings

  • Market value: $76.4 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb
  • Shares sold: 200,562 (-100%)

New York-based investment manager Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb did a lot of selling in the second quarter, so there was plenty to pick from. But of its major sales, only Booking Holdings (BKNG, $1,866.97) was closed out entirely. Had the firm held on to the online travel agency's stock, BKNG would be a top-10 holding today.

Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb first started buying Booking during Q1 2017 at an average price of $1,727.17. Depending on when it sold during Q2, it could've either suffered a considerable loss or a modest profit.

COVID-19 put the pinch on Booking. The company's miserable second quarter included a 91% decline in travel bookings, to $2.3 billion. Revenues declined 84% to $630 million.

Progressive (PGR) was the only other stock Ruane, Cunniff exited during the second quarter. But it only held roughly 3,500 shares of the property and casualty company.

Goldman Sachs

  • Market value: $71.3 billion
  • Billionaire investor: Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway)
  • Shares sold: 1,920,180 (-100%)

We'll finish with the Oracle of Omaha, who purged his bank holdings during the second quarter. Not only did Berkshire sell off a substantial amount of Wells Fargo and other large banks, but it sold every last share it still owned in Goldman Sachs (GS, $207.22).

The sale likely amounted to less than $400 million, but it nonetheless ends the profitable relationship Buffett has had with the investment bank since lending it $5 billion in 2008. A quarter ago, Berkshire sold 10.1 million shares, or 84% of the stake it first acquired in 2013 after exercising warrants it received from the $5 billion purchase of preferred shares.

According to WhaleWisdom.com, Berkshire paid an average of $195.73 during the seven years the holding company owned the stock, trading in and out of it over the years. Goldman Sachs is down about 10% year-to-date and boasts a 10-year annualized total return of just 5.1%, well below the 15.1% return for the entire U.S. markets.


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