Stan Druckenmiller is now the second major hedge fund manager this week to oppose Warren Buffett over a stock. He said today that he’s actually shorting International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), which happens to be one of Buffett’s two largest position, according to a recent Bloomberg interview conducted at The Robin Hood Conference. Buffett’s stake in IBM is estimated to be worth as much as $13 billion.
Incidentally, one of Buffett’s other largest positions, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), is being shorted by Jim Chanos.
Druckenmiller pushes IBM lower
Twitter posts from various users and some analysts suggest that Druckenmiller’s comments about International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) may have caused the stock to dip just slightly. On its Twitter feed, Zero Hedge quotes Druckenmiller as saying investors should buy IBM if they “want to be short innovation.” Druckenmiller apparently made the comments at the Robin Hood Investors’ conference and again in an interview afterward on Bloomberg TV.
Druckenmiller thinks cloud computing will beat IBM
Bloomberg‘s Saijel Kishan and Joshua Fineman report that Druckenmiller is shorting International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) because he thinks its business will be replaced. He sees cloud computing as the biggest problem for IBM’s future and called IBM “one of the more higher-probability shorts” he has seen in years. According to Druckenmiller, “IBM is old technology being replaced by cloud technology.”
IBM has posted declines for the last six consecutive quarters, according to Bloomberg, largely because of cloud computing. Growth in cloud computing and other services just hasn’t been able to make up for the slowing demand for IBM’s older products like hardware. The company has been selling off some of its less-profitable businesses and is now focusing on buying back shares as it tries to meet its guidance for earnings per share growth.
IBM adds to buyback plan
Last month, International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) added $15 billion to its share repurchasing plan. The company is trying to reach $20 in adjusted earnings per share by 2015. That’s compared to last year’s $15.25 per share. Meanwhile, IBM’s hardware business continues to struggle, posting a loss for the last quarter.
Shares of IBM have fallen almost 4% this year, but Buffett sees this as a good thing for long-term investors. He said the company will be able to buy back shares at lower prices in the short term.