pursuits

Tiger’s $100 Billion Funds Buy China Web, LendingClub

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The biggest firms in billionaire Julian Robertson’s hedge fund empire are banking on China’s Internet, Delta Air Lines Inc. and LendingClub Corp.

Based in Beijing, e-commerce company JD.com Inc. was one of the most popular stocks among the Tiger cubs last quarter, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission through Dec. 31. Tiger cubs and managers who receive startup money from Robertson, known as Tiger seeds, are independently run and may overlap in their holdings as many focus on technology companies, have similar stock analysis training and sometimes exchange investment ideas.

Lone Pine Capital, Coatue Management, Tiger Global Management, Hoplite Capital Management and Maverick Capital, known as Tiger cubs because their founders worked for Robertson’s Tiger Management, bought a collective 26.2 million JD.com shares to bring the value of their positions to $730.9 million in the fourth quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The most popular holding among 19 managers tracked by Bloomberg was Baidu Inc., China’s largest search engine. The firms own shares that were valued at $3.5 billion at the end of 2014, with Stephen Mandel’s $27 billion Lone Pine holding the biggest stake, Bloomberg data show. The next largest positions were MasterCard Inc., Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Largest Increases

Among the complex’s largest increases was LendingClub, the peer-to-peer lender that went public in December and counted David Gallo’s Valinor Management, John Griffin’s Blue Ridge Capital, Philippe Laffont’s Coatue, Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global and Robert Citrone’s Discovery Capital Management among firms that bought its shares. Delta was another, with buyers including Andreas Halvorsen’s Viking Global Investors, Robert Bishop’s Impala Asset Management, Discovery and Blue Ridge.

LendingClub shares have surged 50 percent since its IPO. Delta jumped 36 percent in the fourth quarter and fell about 5 percent this year.

JD.com said in December that Gap Inc., the largest U.S. apparel retail chain, opened a store on its sales platform, marking a shift away from retailing and toward a marketplace model similar to that of Alibaba. To boost its mobile presence, JD.com has partnered with Tencent Holdings Ltd., owner of China’s most popular instant message applications.

JD.com shares fell 10 percent in the fourth quarter and are up about 20 percent this year.

Exited AbbVie

Lone Pine, Viking Global and Maverick last quarter exited AbbVie Inc., which scrapped its planned $52 billion purchase of Shire Plc in October while John Lykouretzos’s Hoplite increased its stake.

Hoplite, Benjamin Gambill’s Tiger Eye Capital and Jesse Ro’s Tiger Legatus Capital Management sold out of Alibaba, which also saw Viking Global, Lee Ainslie’s Maverick and Discovery decrease their stakes. Tiger Global diverged from the group and bought shares last quarter.

The group of Tiger-related firms, whose stocks were collectively valued at $103 billion as of Dec. 31, increased its holdings of technology companies to about a third of publicly disclosed stock positions. Money managers who oversee more than $100 million in equities in the U.S. must file a Form 13F within 45 days of each quarter’s end to list those stocks as well as options and convertible bonds. The filings don’t show non-U.S. securities, holdings that aren’t publicly traded, or cash.

(Updates with share prices starting in sixth paragraph.)
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