Farallon Capital Management had a busy Q4. While the quantity of his holdings remained relatively stable – 79 as opposed to 77 in Q3 – he made a number of changes.
Farallon bought into 20 different companies, which now collectively represent 15.31% of the fund. eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) was its most notable purchase, the firm picking up nearly 3.3 million assets (a 3.75% allocation, its fourth largest).
eBay has consistently proven a top market performer, but it’s been making quite a bit of noise recently, and for all the wrong reasons. At the start of the week, activist investor Carl Icahn wrote an open letter to shareholders blasting eBay’s corporate governance and board – namely, Marc Andreessen and Scott Cook. eBay responded with its own letter, which Icahn answered yesterday. His main argument: Andreessen and Cook don’t prioritize shareholders’ interests, and PayPal should be spun off as a separate business unit.
The Icahn battle aside, things are looking good for eBay. In 2013, the company’s sales volume accelerated 21% to $212 billion, it purchased $5 billion of its own stock, and non-revenue grew $14%. Most recently, it signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce to promote exports and trade. Farallon is joined in betting on eBay by Icahn, Julian Robertson, Leon Cooperman and George Soros, Cooperman and Soros also buying in last quarter.
Here’s where else Farallon Capital initiated positions in Q4:
Farallon increased its stakes in 21 companies last quarter, which now account for a combined 29.67% of its holdings.
A number of the purchases are worth noting, above all that of Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC). With 2.43 million shares, TWC now composes 6.82% of the fund – its largest allocation. Farallon stands to make a killing should Comcast be successful in its bid to buy Time Warner in a deal valued at $45.2 billion. Since the start of Q4, TWC’s share price has increased +23.31%.
Farallon downsized 21 of its holdings as well, though not by much. In fact, it backed off of five holdings listed on the iBillionaire Index (NYSE:BILLION), including Dollar General Corp. (NYSE:DG), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA), Priceline.com Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO).
Farallon Capital Management cashed out of a surprising 19 positions in Q4 and was also affected by the Dell buyout.