John Griffin founded Blue Ridge Management in 1996. Under his management, Blue Ridge has produced exemplary returns for its investors. In 2007, Griffin had an annual return of 65%, making him one of the top hedge fund managers that year. Afterwards, even though the markets went through crises, Griffin still managed to return an average 17.83% the next three years.
Andreas Halvorsen, a contemporary of Griffin, started his hedge fund Viking Global at the end of 1999. The next year, he returned 89%. That high of a return may be a hard act to follow but Halvorsen managed to return a cumulative 119% between June 2005 and March 2010, compared to just 11% for the MSCI World Index. Halvorsen’s winning streak started to taper off last year however; he returned just 3.8% in 2010, but hopes are still high for Halvorsen.
John Griffin and Andreas Halvorsen are both “Tiger Cubs” – a moniker earned from working for legendary Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management, but the similarities do not end there. Griffin and Halvorsen also like many of the same stocks.
Topping their list of common stocks is the popular online storefront Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). Amazon is Griffin’s 3rd top pick and Halvorsen’s 7th. Together, they own the 2nd and 3rd largest positions in Amazon of all the hedge funds we track (Halvorsen owns the 2nd largest). Ken Fisher of Fisher Asset Management is also a fan (check out Fisher’s top stock picks)
Griffin had almost $510 million invested in Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl. Inc (NYSE:VRX) at the end of the June, after increasing his position by 10% that quarter. Valeant is also one of Halvorsen’s top picks, coming at number 20. However Halvorsen decreased his position in the pharmaceutical preparations company by 31% last quarter. Valueact Capital’s Jeffrey Ubben, who owns a $785 million stake in Valeant decreased his position last quarter as well, by 23% (see Ubben’s top picks).
Of the stocks they have in common, Halvorsen is most bullish about Priceline.com Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN), He holds a stake worth over $506 million in the online travel company. Griffin holds a more modest position at just over $112 million. Priceline, has returned 1.72% since the end of June, a modest return but still better than the market. The SPY returned -12% during the same period (June 30-Sept 10). John Thaler of JAT Capital is also bullish about Priceline; he increased his position in the company by 173% last quarter.
JP Morgan & Co is another position both Halvorsen and Griffin agree on. JP Morgan is Halvorsen’s 8th biggest position; it is Griffin’s 10th. However, JP Morgan has not been so deserving of the attention so far this quarter, returning a disappointing -21.16%.
Halvorsen and Griffin also agree on another financial stock – American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG). Halvorsen owns $29.3 million in the company compared to Griffin’s approximate $9.4 million position. AIG has lost -20.33% since the end of June. The loss is significant but at least it did better than JP Morgan. AIG had a lot of new interest last quarter; Bruce Berkowitz increased the $12.9 billion Fairholme Fund’s position in the company by 133% last quarter (check out Berkowitz’s top positions).
The pair also lost big on Blackrock Inc (NYSE:BLK). Blackrock returned -20.59% since the end of June, producing big losses for both Halvorsen and Griffin, Halvorsen owns almost $195 million in the company while Griffin owns just over $110 million. Billionaire fund manager John Paulson of Paulson & Co, who owns a $360 million position in Blackrock also got hit hard by the poor performance of the security brokerage company (see Paulson’s top stock picks).
Halvorsen and Griffin did much better on their positions in eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY); Halvorsen has a $7.1 million position in the company while Griffin is a bit more bullish, he holds almost $160 million in the online auction company. Since the end of June, eBay has performed on par with the market (eBay 11.81% vs. SPY 12.16%). Citadel Investment Group’s Ken Griffin is also a fan of eBay; he increased his position in the company by 9620% last quarter.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.