Soros Fund Management LLC, the firm that invests the wealth of billionaire George Soros, sold its stake in SodaStream International Ltd.
The investment firm bought $24.3 million of shares of the Israeli maker of home soda machines earlier this year, according to a May 15 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Michael Vachon, a spokesman for the New York-based fund, confirmed it no longer owns the stock while declining to comment on the timing or reason for the sale. SodaStream shares fell 0.7 percent to $33.80 at 11:46 a.m. in New York.
Shares of the Lod, Israel-based company have declined 32 percent this year, the biggest drop on the Bloomberg Israel-US Equity Index, after a lackluster holiday season caused the company to miss 2013 earnings estimates and as deep discounts to move a backlog of soda machines squeeze margins. The stock surged 9.4 percent on July 24 amid reports the company is in talks with an investment firm about a buyout. SodaStream is negotiating a transaction that would value it at about $40 a share, Bloomberg News reported.
The holding of SodaStream shares made up about 0.3 percent of the Soros’s $9.3 billion U.S. stock portfolio at the end of the first quarter, according to the filing.
Abu Dhabi’s The National newspaper first reported that the fund had sold SodaStream shares on Aug. 2. Nirit Hurwitz, a spokeswoman for SodaStream, declined via e-mail to comment on shareholder activities.
SodaStream has been criticized by activists for operating a factory in the West Bank, a territory Palestinians seek for an independent state.
Actress Scarlett Johansson, who was enlisted by SodaStream as a spokeswoman earlier this year, publicly split from Oxfam International after the humanitarian group criticized her role within SodaStream because of its plant in a West Bank settlement.
SodaStream’s second-quarter revenue rose to $141.2 million, surpassing the $140.6 million average of 10 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Net income fell to 43 cents per share, beating a mean estimate of 30 cents.
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