(Adds Greenlight Capital, Appaloosa Management)
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK, May 15 (Reuters) - Top U.S. hedge fund management firms, including Dan Loeb’s Third Point LLC and Farallon Capital Management, trimmed some of their equity exposure in eBay Inc , but kept high positions in the e-commerce company’s shares during the first quarter, according to regulatory filings.
Third Point cut its eBay stake by 1 million shares to 9 million, while Farallon reduced its equity position 27 percent to 1.8 million shares. Activist hedge fund Jana Partners LLC, however, raised its stake by about 49 percent to 20 million shares during the first quarter.
MD Sass Investors Services Inc liquidated its position in eBay, selling 626,520 shares.
Leonard Green & Partners LP, one of the nation’s top private equity firms with over $15 billion, revealed on Friday that it held 9.2 million class A shares in Shake Shack Inc as of March 31. Shake Shack shares, which sold at $21 in an initial public offering in January, jumped nearly 10 percent on the news to more than $72 a share, before closing up 5.94 percent at $69.39.
Leonard Green also took a new 990,000 share stake in Bed Bath and Beyond Inc. Bed Bath and Beyond shares ended the day up 5.31 percent to $73.35.
Top U.S. hedge fund management firms, including Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors and Philippe Laffont’s Coatue Management, continued to reduce or slash stakes altogether in Apple Inc during the first quarter as shares of the iPhone maker rallied.
The actions were revealed in quarterly disclosures of manager stock holdings, known as 13F filings, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. They are of great interest to investors trying to divine a pattern in what savvy traders are selling and buying.
The disclosures are backward-looking and come out 45 days after the end of each quarter. Still, the filings offer a glimpse into what hedge fund managers saw as opportunities on the long side.
The filings do not disclose short positions. As a result, the public filings do not always present a complete picture of a management firm’s stock holdings.
The following are some of the hot stocks and sectors in which hedge fund managers either took new positions or exited existing stakes in the first quarter.
Third Point took a new 3.3 million share stake.
David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital took a new stake of 1.7 million shares in one of the world’s top department stores.
David Tepper’s Appaloosa Management LP took a new stake of 1.08 million shares.
Appaloosa upped its stake by 617,365 shares to 15.3 million shares, while Greenlight Capital took a new stake of 9.5 million shares.
MICRON TECHNOLOGY Inc
Appaloosa took a new stake of 3.6 million shares and Greenlight raised its stake by 2.3 million shares to 33.5 million.
Activist fund ValueAct Capital bought an additional 12 million shares of Halliburton, raising the firm’s stake to 33 million shares. Alyeska Investment Group liquidated its stakes in Halliburton in the first quarter, while Omega Advisors Inc exited its exposure in the previous quarter.
Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates LP said it opened a new position in Agrium, buying 97,162 shares, while ValueAct trimmed its position by selling 231,893 shares to own 7.9 million.
Tiger Veda Management LLC took a new position in solar company SunEdison, buying 274,505 shares.
Barry Rosenstein’s Jana Partners raised its stake in the car-rental company by 20 percent to 41.8 million shares. The shares rose as much as 7 percent on Friday after the disclosure in Jana’s filings, as well as Hertz posting its review of first-quarter results at the close on Thursday. The shares closed at $20.60, up 5.3 percent.
Omega Advisors took a new position in BofA shares of 650,000 shares.
Omega Advisors raised its share stake in JPMorgan Chase & Co by 17.1 percent to 1.1 million shares during the first quarter. (Compiled by Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Andre Grenon and Alan Crosby)