Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO), a shortsellers’ favorite in the U.K., has been surrounded by a bunch of conflicting news. The online grocer, a short bet of notable investors like Jim Chanos and Tiger cub John Griffin, fell as much as 13 percent in the London Stock Exchange after bad news broke about a prospective deal with another retailer. The total short interest in Ocado is the highest at 14 percent of outstanding shares.
The recent decline is ironical as Jim Chanos recently reduced his short in the company from 5.21 to 3.28 percent on Friday. Other than today’s fall, Ocado has consistently risen and has deprived shortsellers of any major gains in their bets. Shares of OCDO are now up 142 percent YTD. Chanos has been increasing his position and covered his bets on Friday which indicated a significant reversal of direction from the famed shortseller. Other hedge funds have maintained their shorts in Ocado. John Griffin’s Blue Ridge has a 2.19 percent position in the company which remains unchanged. Blackrock and Ennismore covered their bets slightly.
There have been talks about a technology tie-up between online grocer Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO) and Wm. Morrison Supermarkets plc (LON:MRW). Ocado will provide web and mobile technology to Wm. Morrison to set up its online sales center. However, the catch is that Ocado is dependent on its contract with Waitrose, from whom it buys groceries. If the new agreement is struck between Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO) and Wm. Morrison on the delivery of groceries, it would be in breach of Ocado’s contract with Waitrose. Today when Waitrose made it clear that it would not support any delivery deal between both parties, Ocado shook visibly in trading and declined as much as 13 percent.
On the other hand Wm. Morrison Supermarkets plc (LON:MRW) rose 1.05 percent today. The reason Wm. Morrison is unaffected by the news of no-deal between itself and Ocado is because the company is determined to open online grocery sale stores by Jan 2014, irrespective of this partnership. Wm. Morrison Supermarkets plc (LON:MRW) is a short bet of Steve Mandel’s Lone Pine Capital and Lansdowne Partners.
Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO) closed down 9.8 percent today.