Short Positions Uncovered: Hedge Funds Bend To FSA Rules

Short Positions Uncovered: Hedge Funds Bend To FSA Rules
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Hedge funds will not be thrilled with UK’s new regulations for short positions’ disclosure. As per recent regulations by the Financial Services Authority of UK, it is now mandatory for hedge funds to disclose their short position publicly when their shares reach 0.5 percent of outstanding shares.

Short Positions Uncovered: Hedge Funds Bend To FSA Rules

The famed short seller, Jim Chanos, has revealed a position in ASOS plc (LON:ASC). His firm, Kynikos Associates’ (AUM over $6 billion) position is equal to 2.52 percent of the total shares of ASOS plc (LON:ASC), and also has a 0.61 percent short position in shares of African Minerals Limited (LON:AMI). This should hurt for Jim Chanos; the shortseller dislikes hedge funds having to disclose even their long positions publicly. This new additional short requirement should be downright painful. In his recent interview with CNBC, Jim Chanos said, “Once you put all of your positions in the book, everybody can replicate your portfolio so there’s the whole issue,” he commented,  “they (long/short) should be shown to the authorities or SEC as needed, but not to the public.”

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ASOS, an online fashion retailer, reported a 31 percent increase in Q4 2012 revenues, sales in US and UK increased while international fell from 49 percent to 42 percent. The company’s CEO said in the September earnings call, “We are back,”. So far in CY2012, ASOS plc (LON:ASC)’s share price has appreciated by over 85 percent. The highest price was touched in the past couple of months. Could Chanos be losing on this short?

Another legendary short seller, David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital Inc probably the most sought after, uncovered the largest short sale so far. The position is 4.37 percent of Daily Mail and General Trust plc (LON:DMGT) (LON:DMGO). Daily Mail is the publisher of UK’s second most popular newspaper. The company has been struggling with declining readership and has laid off a large number of employees. DMGT  is up over 20 percent this year.

David Einhorn’s recent famous short thesis focused on Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ:GMCR) and Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG). The fund is up over 13 percent year to date.

Other large shorts include a 4.03 percent position in CSR plc (LON:CSR) by Joho Capital, a 3.56 percent position in Carpetright PLC (LON:CPR) by GMT Capital, and a 3.55 percent position in Pace plc (LON:PIC) by AKO Capital LLP.

Other big hedge funds, like Elliott Management (AUM close to $21 billion), has the highest number of short positions currently disclosed with the FSA. The shorts include REED ELSEVIER PLC (LON:REL), Glencore International (LON:GLEN), First Group plc and Stagecoach plc (LON: SGC). The fund has returned close to 10% this year.

D.E. Shaw & Co (AUM over $39 billion), has revealed a short position in TUI Travel plc (LON:TT) and a 0.62 percent stake in WPP plc (LON: WPP). D.E. Shaw’s flagship Oculus is up 10% as of the end of July. is up Och-Ziff Capital Management (NYSE:OZM), has shorts in Glencore International plc (LON:GLEN), Lancashire Holdings (LON:LRE) and International Consolidated Airlines Group SA . Steve Mandel’s Lone Pine Capital, has a 1.2 percent short position in shares of Home Retail Group (LON:HOME).

The FSA filings do not specify whether the short position has been closed, changed or just initiated. But as FSA updates the list we can make guesses. Stay tuned for more updates and, yes, this is a very exciting development (at least for journalists)!

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