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John Paulson founded Paulson & Co. in 1994 (with $2M and 1 other employee) after a career as and M&A investor at Gruss Partners and Bear Stearns. Paulson & Co. was originally founded with that mandate but clearly evolved over the years. Most notably, in 2007 when Paulson correctly got on board the short Barrick Gold (ABX) trade sending his flagship Paulson Advantage fund up multiples. (Depending on the fund and share class, his funds were up between 100 and 500+%).

Paulson's flagship "Paulson Advantage Fund" was down 50% in 2011 and he spent most of last year "derisking" his portfolio across the board. The only new positions in the top 25 last quarter (which account for over 80% of longs) were Delphi Auto (DLPH) and Pharmasset (VRUS).

In our (free) Q1 report we see that Paulson :

  • trimmed his shares of Delphi 12% (as shares went from $22 to $32 this quarter)
  • Increased shares of Mylan (MYL) 16%
  • Decreased shares of Anadarko (APC) 38% (shares went from $76 in Jan to over $85 in March and are now trading at $67)
  • Increased shares in Baxter Intl (BAX) 89% (as shares went from $50 to $58 over the quarter)

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There were no new positions among the top 10 in Q1 but several "starter" positions in the portfolio:

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Of the top 10 positions, nearly all of them (including GLD) have been decreased over the last four quarters, some dramatically:

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Anadarko started as a $765M position in Paulson's portfolio in Q3 2010. The following quarter, Paulson nearly doubled the number of shares held and has steadily sold of the position since Q2 2011:

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Source: John Paulson's Big 2012 Bets