Lansdowne Partners, one of London’s leading hedge funds, just filed its 13f for first quarter of 2014. The long/short equity hedge fund added 19 new stocks to its portfolio in the period, including names like Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ:ILMN).
The fund’s largest positions are in Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL), Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).
Tech stocks bring trouble to Lansdowne’s returns
Lansdowne has been doing poorly in 2014, its flagship Developed Markets Fund was down 5.26% for the year through April 18 after incurring a loss of 5.18% in April alone. The hedge fund has a massive short portfolio in Europe, which is disclosed publicly, therefore the data on the 13f could account for only a small part of Lansdowne’s net exposure.
While we haven’t seen any sharp rise in the fund’s short holdings which could have caused this major slump in returns. One of the reasons for Lansdowne’s underperformance could have been its concentration in technology stocks. The fund holds positions in Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) its shares are down 23% through the year, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) down 4%, LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) down 32%, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) down 45% and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), which has lost 5% YTD.
Lansdowne boosts positions in entertainment companies
Notable additions that Lansdowne made to existing positions included a 27% boost to its holdings in Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NASDAQ:CMCSK). Comcast Corp is Lansdowne’s top long position and is worth $1.3 billion now, making up 11% of its long book in the U.S. For the last few quarters, Comcast has been hot news due to its planned merger with Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC). The fund also owns a stake in Time Warner, which was slashed by nearly 50% in the last quarter. Lansdowne now holds 1.7 million shares of the cable company compared to 3.09 million at the end of 2013.
Lansdowne also added to another entertainment company in the last quarter. The fund increased its position in The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) by nearly 90%. Walt Disney now makes up 5% of Lansdowne’s portfolio and the market value of the position is $631 million.
Lansdowne also holds long bets in asset managers like Fortress Investment Group LLC (NYSE:FIG) and Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE:APO), The Carlyle Group LP (NASDAQ:CG) and KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR). The fund has a long position in Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU) that was left unchanged in the last quarter. Lansdowne’s rival Odey Asset Management has a short bet on the English football team.
The fund sold out of 12 positions in the last quarter. Lansdowne exited small stakes in Colgate-Palmolive Company (NYSE:CL), American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG), Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) in Q1.