By Alex Oleinic
Leon Cooperman is one of the most successful investors of our generation. He is the Chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors, a hedge fund with an equity portfolio of over $5.0 billion. Some of the largest holdings in previous 13Fs have been Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), American International Group (NYSE:AIG) and SLM Corp (NASDAQ:SLM). While we don't have Cooperman's latest first quarter 13F, we do have a recent CNBC interview given on Thursday May 9, that can be seen here, here and here.
To satisfy the dreams of all ardent piggy-backers, Mr. Cooperman discussed some of the latest stocks he's bullish on, and almost every pick was a surprise in some form. It's crucial to pay attention to hedge fund managers like Cooperman, because empirical studies show that the best picks of the best hedgies can beat the market by as much as 18 percentage points a year (discover the secrets of this strategy here).
Leon Cooperman said on CNBC that one of his latest acquisitions was a stake in Monitise (MONI.PK) (trades in London). It is a company engaged in mobile banking and payments. According to data on Monitise's website, Omega Advisors held a 10.1% stake in the company, or 155,362,132 shares. Some other major shareholders of Monitise are: Norges Bank (9.0%), Visa EU (7.5%) and Visa (NYSE:V) (6.9%). Cooperman said that Monitise could raise the number of its subscribers from 20 million to 100 million within four years.
Cooperman also mentioned about purchasing a stake in engineering and construction firm "Teknik," which we take to be Teknik Prima Solusi. According to its website, Teknik Prima Solusi is "an Indonesia-based Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) company which applies for Oil, Gas, Petrochemical, Chemical, Mineral, Energy and other related industries." The company has a quasi monopoly position in the L&G offshore business, which will turn to be a growth business, Leon Cooperman added.
It appears as though Teknik isn't publicly traded at the moment, but this is an under-the-radar energy company worth watching for the long, long run if a U.S.-traded equity ever does become available to investors.
If we take a look at Cooperman's last two 13F filings with the SEC for the third and fourth quarters of 2012, we can see that Cooperman dumped Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in Q4. However, in his interview on CNBC, the hedge fund manager said that Omega Advisors actually got back in and traded a small amount of Apple options. "I bought a January $400 Call, sold a January $460 Call, and I sold a January $325 Put," Cooperman said about the positions. It is unknown as to whether or not he currently, or has plans to hold common stock of the tech giant.
Regarding Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), the manager of Omega Advisors said that "people are underestimating the mobility opportunity that exists in Facebook, and so we think ultimately they can achieve the market cap comparable to Google, which will make the stock very rewarding." That's a bold prediction, as a market cap comparable to Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) would put Facebook shares approximately 350% higher than current levels. One more potential bullish growth driver is Facebook's expected entry into the online gambling arena, assuming all of the legal details can be worked out.
We'll have more details on Cooperman's investment sentiment when his first quarter 13F filing is released, but for the time being, he appears to be rather bullish on mobile. Monitise's primary thesis lies in its ability to become a major player in the mobile payments industry, and his direct reasoning for being invested in Facebook-which still trades 28% below its IPO price-is the potential of its mobile offering. Teknik is kind of out of the blue, and can't really be mimicked by piggy-backers at the moment, but it's still worth registering the name in your memory bank, as it could be available to invest in sometime in the future (keep preparing for 13F-filing season here).
Business relationship disclosure: This article is written by Insider Monkey's writer, Alex Oleinic, and edited by Jake Mann. They don't have any business relationships with any of the companies mentioned in this article and they didn't receive compensation (other than from Insider Monkey and Seeking Alpha) to write this article.