Soros Buys SodaStream Shares While Boosting Teva Stake

Soros Fund Management LLC, the family office of billionaire George Soros, bought shares of SodaStream International Ltd. in the first quarter, the Israeli maker of home soda machines that’s plunged 18 percent this year.

The firm, based in New York, bought $24.3 million of shares of Lod, Israel-based SodaStream. The holding makes up about 0.3 percent of its $9.3 billion U.S. stock portfolio, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday. Soros also increased his stake in Israeli drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., already its largest holding, to 5.8 percent of the total.

SodaStream is heading for its worst annual performance since its initial public offering in November 2010 as U.S. sales of its home soda machines have failed to pick up following a lackluster holiday season. Chief Executive Officer Daniel Birnbaum said “challenges” in the Americas offset “double-digit” sales growth in Western Europe and the Asia Pacific region in the first three months of the year, a trend that should continue into the second quarter, according to a May 14 conference call with investors.

SodaStream trades at 17 times estimated earnings, compared with an historical average of 20.5, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Soros’s fund made Teva its biggest holding at the end of 2013. Shares in the Petach Tikva, Israel-based company have jumped 25 percent this year after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal that may delay generic competition of its top-selling multiple-sclerosis drug, Copaxone, until 2015. The stock rallied 32 percent in the three months ended March 31.

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