Einhorn’s Greenlight Buys Google, Aetna; Sells WellPoint

David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital Inc. bought shares of Google Inc. and Aetna Inc. and sold out of WellPoint Inc. during the fourth quarter.

Greenlight also took new positions in Vodafone Group Plc and Western Digital Corp., according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission today.

Einhorn took a $44.6 million stake in Google, a $40.3 million position in Vodafone and $25.5 million of Western Digital, according to the filing. He increased his holding of Aetna, the third-biggest U.S. health insurer, to $301.4 million, and added about 216,000 shares of Apple Inc., bringing his stake to $695.6 million, or 11.2 percent of the portfolio, the largest position in the fund.

Einhorn, who now owns 1.31 million shares of Apple, has been calling for the maker of iPhones and iPads to issue high-yielding preferred stock to provide more value to shareholders from a $137 billion stockpile of cash and equivalents. The technology company has said it will fight Einhorn’s effort to block a shareholder vote on allowing the company to adopt a measure restricting its ability to issue preferred stock.

“Several hundred dollars per share would be unlocked if Apple were to follow through on this suggestion,” Einhorn said in an interview on Bloomberg Television earlier this year. “It doesn’t put the company at risk. It’s not financial leverage in the sense that debt’s considered to be.”

Greenlight and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman are also involved in a dispute with Herbalife Ltd. Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management LP has sold short 20 million shares of the nutrition-products company, claiming it is a pyramid scheme, and Einhorn had raised questions on a company conference call about Herbalife disclosures last year. He said on Feb. 7 he doesn’t hold a position. Herbalife has fallen 46 percent from the day before Einhorn questioned questioned its disclosures on May 1.

Einhorn, 44, established a reputation as a short seller by betting against Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. before it collapsed in 2008. In a short sale, a trader sells borrowed shares in a bet they can be repurchased at a lower price.

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