Hedge funds have been shorting more or less the same names for the past several months, but a few new companies have gathered accelerated interest from shortsellers over the past few weeks. Blinkx Plc (LON:BLNX), a relatively familiar name due to its advertising and video services offered on the web, has generated pessimism from some noted hedge funds.Total short interest in Blinkx Plc (LON:BLNX) rose to 6% in December, up from 2.4% at the end of November. The rising short interest in Blinkx comes at a time when shares of the tech company have gained 200% YTD. Shortsellers are clearly disagreeing with the outsized price that Blinkx is trading on.
Take a look at the best and worst performing shorts in Europe.
Blinkx shorted by Valiant and Luxor
Valiant Capital disclosed a new short position in Blinkx Plc (LON:BLNX) in early December, and the fund has now increased it to 1.9% of outstanding shares. Valiant Capital is run by Tiger cub Christopher Hansen, whose funds have not done well through most of this year. Valiant Capital Partners Offshore is down 13% YTD, according to II Alpha, after recording a small gain in October.
Blinkx’ longtime shortseller is Luxor Capital Group, a fund that uses an event-driven strategy for both equity and credit investments. Luxor’s short position amounts to 2.2% of Blinkx’ outstanding shares. Oxford Asset Management and Blau GmbH also hold short positions in the company.
In their latest report, Goldman Sachs added Blinkx Plc (LON:BLNX) to their Conviction List. The report said that the company will stack more gains with its acquisition of Rhythm, which will allow it to grow in the mobile video space. Goldman Sachs increased their revenue estimates for FY2014-18 owing to Rhythm. The report also said that Blinkx has an edge in technology and video search market which warrants an even higher valuation.
Sage Group, Spirent Communications
While there are hundreds of active short positions that are disclosed to U.K’s Financial Conduct Authority, there are a few that stand out because of the sudden rise in bearish sentiment. For example, The Sage Group plc (LON:SGE), a software developer, does not have an over-sized short interest but its shortsellers are noteworthy. Sage Group is being shorted by Odey Asset Management, Ricky Sandler’s Eminence Capital and David Stemerman’s Conatus Capital. Total short interest in The Sage Group plc (LON:SGE) amounts to 2.2% now, compared to roughly no significant positions disclosed until the beginning of October.
Shares of Sage Group have risen 25% in this year so far. The company, which provides software solutions in business management, had some difficulty in riding the boom in cloud technology. Jefferies thinks that Sage has gone through intense rebranding now and has embraced cloud offerings in its new face. Jefferies is highly optimistic about the company, and in their latest report, they upgraded Sage from Hold to Buy at the end of October. The report was positive about the company achieving the 6% y-o-y growth target.
Goldman Sachs rates The Sage Group plc (LON:SGE) at Neutral, and issued a bullish report after the company announced positive financial results. Sage Group reported 5% y-o-y organic growth for the first time since 2007. Goldman Sachs expects the company to achieve 6% growth target by 2015; the report further said that CEO Guy Berruyer has steered the company in the right direction and that his methods were working.
Short interest in London-based Spirent Communications Plc (LON:SPT) has also accelerated in the past few months. Total shares out on loan which were at 2.66% at the end of November, are now up to 4.5% of outstanding shares. Most shortsellers of Spirent Communications Plc (LON:SPT) are asset managers.
Short interest fizzles out in Man Group, Pace plc
On the other hand, short positions that are losing bearish interest are Man Group plc (LON:EMG) and Pace plc (LON:PIC). Man Group, one of the largest hedge funds in the world, saw Marshall Wace and TT International Limited (SGX:T09) exiting their short bets. Short interest in Man Group is down from the highs seen in April this year. Lansdowne Partners and AQR Capital are still shorting 1.46% and 0.7% of Man Group’s shares. Pace plc (LON:PIC), which provides software based and technical solutions, has 5.25% of its shares out on loan until the end of October, which are now down to 3.8%. AKO Capital and Odey Asset Management hold short positions in Pace plc.