Tracking George Soros's Portfolio - Q1 2019 Update

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Includes: AABA, ADBE, ADM, ALLT, AMZN, ATUS, CAG, CDAY, CELG, CMA, CMCSA, COUP, CRM, CZR, DHI, DIS, ENR, ETFC, GLIBA, GOOG, GRFS, HSY, I, INTU, IWB, JPM, KHC, LBRDK, LGF.A, LPLA, MDLZ, MKC, MRVL, NRG, P, PM, QQQ, RHT, RING, S, SIRI, SPY, T, TMUS, UNH, VIAB, VICI, VLO, VNOM, VZ, WWE, XLF, XOP
by: John Vincent
Summary

Soros' 13F portfolio value increased from $3.30B to $4.31B this quarter. The number of positions increased from 165 to 169.

Soros added Ceridian HCM Holding while dropping Verizon. The net short position in the S&P 500 Index is now a large stake at ~7% of the portfolio.

Liberty Broadband at ~16% of the portfolio is the largest individual stock position.

Update, May 20, 2019, 2:05 p.m.: A number of price ranges noted in the article have been corrected from the originally published version, which contained some outdated figures.

This article is part of a series that provides an ongoing analysis of the changes made to George Soros's 13F stock portfolio on a quarterly basis. It is based on George Soros's regulatory 13F Form filed on 05/15/2019. Please visit our Tracking Soros Fund Management Holdings article for an idea on his investment philosophy and our previous update for the fund's moves during Q4 2018.

Soros Fund Management invests globally and the long positions in the US market reported in the 13F filings represent ~15% of the overall portfolio. The 13F portfolio value increased ~28% this quarter from $3.30B to $4.31B. The number of positions increased 165 to 169. Very small stock positions and large debt holdings together account for ~27% of the 13F holdings. The investments are diversified with a large number of very small equity positions, a small number of large equity positions, and a few large debt holdings. As the small positions (<0.5%) do not indicate a clear bias, the focus of this article is on the larger equity positions. The top three individual stocks held are Liberty Broadband, VICI Properties, and Caesars Entertainment. To learn about Soros' distinct trading style and philosophy, check out his "The Alchemy of Finance" and other works.

New stakes:

Ceridian HCM Holding (CDAY): The 1.96% CDAY stake was purchased this quarter at prices between $33 and $51 and the stock currently trades at the top end of that range at $51.

Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), Grifols S.A. (GRFS), Valero Energy (VLO), D.R. Horton (DHI), Celgene Corp. (CELG), Altice USA (ATUS), Adobe (ADBE), Intuit Inc. (INTU), and Viacom (VIAB): These are small (less than ~1% of the portfolio each) new positions established this quarter.

Stake Disposals:

Amazon.com (AMZN) And Calls: AMZN was a small ~0.73% of the portfolio position as of last quarter. It was purchased in Q1 2018 at prices between $1180 and $1600. The following quarter saw a ~42% selling at prices between $1372 and $1750 and that was followed with another ~25% selling in Q3 2018 at prices between $1694 and $2040. Last quarter saw a similar reduction at prices between $1344 and $2004 and the disposal this quarter was at prices between $1500 and $1820. The stock is now at $1869.

AT&T Inc. (T): T was a fairly large ~3% of the portfolio stake established in Q2 2018. Soros had a position in Time Warner and AT&T's deal ($107.50 per share, half cash) for Time Warner closed last June. The position saw a ~75% selling in Q3 2018 at prices between $30 and $34. There was another ~50% reduction last quarter at prices between $27 and $34 and the elimination this quarter was at prices between $28.50 and $32. The stock is now at $31.80.

Pandora (P): The 0.52% Pandora stake as of last quarter was first purchased in Q2 2018 at prices between $4.50 and $8.50 and reduced by ~25% next quarter at prices between $6.75 and $10. Last quarter saw another ~60% selling at prices between $5.25 and $6.40. In September last year, Sirius XM (SIRI) agreed to acquire Pandora in a stock deal (1.44 shares of SIRI for each P held) and that transaction closed in February. SIRI currently trades at ~$5.66.

Kraft Heinz (KHC): The KHC stake was established in Q3 2018 at prices between $55 and $65 and reduced by ~45% last quarter at prices between $42.50 and $58. The disposal this quarter was at prices between $31.50 and $48. It currently trades at $32.53.

Alphabet (GOOG): The 0.70% GOOG stake had seen an ~80% increase last quarter at prices between $976 and $1203 but was disposed of this quarter at prices between $1015 and $1232. It is now at $1162.

Invesco QQQ (QQQ) Puts, Philip Morris International (PM) and Verizon Communications (VZ): The 1.60% short stake in QQQ was established last quarter as the underlying traded between $144 and $186. It was disposed of this quarter as QQQ traded between $150 and $183. It currently trades at $183. PM was a 1.19% portfolio position established last quarter at prices between $66 and $91 and disposed of this quarter at prices between $66.50 and $92. The stock currently trades at $86.81. The ~1% VZ stake was purchased last quarter at prices between $53 and $61 and eliminated this quarter at around the same price range. It is now at $58.09.

Allot Communications (ALLT), Hershey Company (HSY), and Sprint (S): These very small (less than ~0.70% of the portfolio each) stakes were disposed of this quarter.

Stake Increases:

SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) Calls And Puts: The net short position through SPY Calls and Puts is now at ~7% of the portfolio. It was a small net long position as of Q3 2018. SPY traded between $234 and $292 last quarter. The trading range this quarter was between $244 and $286. It is currently at ~$286.

iShares Russell 1000 ETF (IWB): IWB is a 1.51% long position purchased last quarter at prices between $130 and $162 and increased by ~45% this quarter at prices between $135 and $159. The stock is now at $159.

GCI Liberty (GLIBA), T-Mobile US (TMUS) and McCormick (NYSE:MKC): These three positions saw large increases over the last two quarters. The 1.46% GLIBA position was increased by ~45% last quarter and another ~25% this quarter at prices between $40 and $57. The stock currently trades at $60.55. The ~1% TMUS position was increased by ~800% last quarter at prices between $61 and $70. This quarter also saw a ~12% further increase. The stock currently trades at $75.37. MKC is a 0.88% portfolio position that saw a ~250% increase last quarter at prices between $132 and $152. The stake was increased by another ~18% this quarter. It currently trades at ~$156.

Red Hat Inc. (RHT), Conagra Foods (CAG), and Energizer Holdings (ENR): These new positions purchased last quarter saw significant buying this quarter. RHT is a merger-arbitrage stake established last quarter - IBM is buying Red Hat for $190 per share cash. The stock currently trades at $186. The 1.17% CAG position was established as a result of the merger with Pinnacle Foods. Soros had a position in Pinnacle Foods for which he received CAG shares in the ration 1:0.6494. The stake was increased by two-thirds this quarter at prices between $21 and $28 and the stock is now just above that range at $29.08. ENR is a 0.83% stake purchased at prices between $43 and $62 and increased by ~55% this quarter at prices between $44 and $49. It is now at $46.96.

Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM): The ADM position was established in Q3 2018 at prices between $45 and $51 and reduced by ~45% last quarter at prices between $39.50 and $52. There was an about turn this quarter: stake more than doubled at prices between $40.50 and $45. It currently goes for $40.68 and the position is at 0.69% of the portfolio.

Walt Disney (DIS): DIS is a 0.46% position purchased in Q3 2018 at prices between $104 and $117 and reduced by ~40% last quarter at prices between $100 and $119. It is now at ~$135. There was a marginal stake increase this quarter.

E*Trade Financial (ETFC), Salesforce.com (CRM), Marvell Technology(MRVL), SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) And Calls, SPDR Oil & Gas Exploration (XOP) And Calls, Sirius XM (SIRI), Viper Energy Partners LP (VNOM), and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE): These small positions (less than ~1% of the portfolio each) were increased this quarter.

Stake Decreases:

VICI Properties (VICI) and Caesars Entertainment (CZR): In October 2017, Caesars Entertainment combined with Caesars Acquisition in a merger (bankruptcy court reorg). The bankruptcy reorg included the spinoff of VICI Properties whereby the creditors received VICI shares. The 9.84% of the portfolio position (~7% of the business) in VICI came about as a result of this transaction - Soros had huge stakes (both equity and debt) in the parent businesses. The stock started trading at $18 per share and currently goes for $22.63. The CZR position is currently the third-largest stake at ~5% of the portfolio. The reorg terms also called for Caesars Acquisition shareholders to receive 1.625 shares of CZR for each share held. Q1 2018 saw the stake increased to 34.5M shares (4.9% of the business) as Soros' debt holdings got converted in the reorg. The stock currently trades at $9.03. Both positions saw minor trimming in the last two quarters.

Altaba Inc. (AABA) previously Yahoo: AABA is a fairly large (top five) 4.5% portfolio positon established in Q2 2017 at prices between $46 and $56 and increased by ~10% the following quarter at prices between $54.50 and $67.50. The stock is now above those ranges at $68.07. Last four quarters have seen minor trimming.

Mondelez Intl. (MDLZ), NRG Energy (NRG), and UnitedHealth Group (UNH): These three positions saw large increases last quarter but saw reductions this quarter. The 1.38% MDLZ stake had seen a ~140% increase last quarter at prices between $39.50 and $45. It saw a ~8% trimming this quarter. The stock currently trades at ~$52. NRG is now a minutely small 0.29% portfolio position. The stake had seen a ~135% increase last quarter at prices between $35 and $43 but saw a ~50% selling this quarter at prices between $37.75 and $43.50. It currently trades at $35.58. The minutely small 0.20% UNH stake was doubled last quarter at prices between $233 and $286 but was sold down by ~60% this quarter at prices between $236 and $271. It is now at ~$241.

Coupa Software (COUP): The 1.26% COUP stake was established in Q2 2018 at prices between $44.50 and $64.50 and increased by ~14% next quarter at prices between $61 and $81. It is currently well above those ranges at ~$110. Last quarter also saw a ~7% stake increase. There was minor trimming this quarter.

Comerica (CMA), Intelsat SA (I) & Calls, Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF.A), RingCentral Inc. (RING), and SPDR Financial (XLF): These very small (less than ~1% of the portfolio each) stakes saw reductions this quarter.

Kept Steady:

Liberty Broadband (LBRDK): LBRDK is the largest individual stock position by far at ~15.52% of the portfolio. The stake was established in Q2 2016 at prices between $55 and $60.50. The stock is now well above that range at ~ $102.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM): The ~0.50% JPM stake was acquired in Q1 2018 at prices between $107 and $119. Q3 2018 saw the position reduced by ~60% at prices between $104 and $119. It currently trades at ~$111. Last quarter also saw a ~20% selling.

LPL Financial (LPLA): The very small 0.92% portfolio stake in LPLA was kept steady this quarter.

The spreadsheet below highlights Soros's significantly large 13F positions as of Q1 2019:

George Soros - Q1 2019 13F Report Q/Q Comparison

Disclosure: I am/we are long KHC, PM. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.