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The Morning Brief: Baupost Reveals New Equity Stakes

The Baupost Group disclosed in a series of separate 13G filings several major trades in a handful of stocks. However, Baupost has not yet filed its quarterly 13F document detailing its U.S. equity holdings as of December 31. The deadline for the filing is February 17.

The Boston-based hedge fund firm headed by Seth Klarman disclosed that it owns nearly 18 million shares of SunEdison Semiconductor, or more than 19 percent of the total outstanding. It also revealed an 11.38 percent stake in Bellatrix Exploration, an oil and gas exploration company. Both filings are dated January 31 but indicate that the firm could have owned the stock for awhile.

On the other hand, Baupost disclosed that it cut its stake in Syneron Medical, a maker of medical products, by more than half, to 1.1 million shares or so, or 3.1 percent of the total outstanding, according to a regulatory filing. This is down from more than 2.4 million shares held at the end of 2014, according to the filing. Baupost also revealed that it owned 10 percent of hedge fund favorite Cheniere Energy, which hopes to liquefy and export natural gas, as of December 31.

All of the filings were made in a 13G, which means it owns a passive stake of at least 5 percent of the company’s shares. Usually these forms must be filed 10 days from the first day the filing firm crossed the 5 percent threshold to file this form.

However, in the Cheniere filing, it checked the Rule 13d-1(b) box, which allows for looser filing requirements. This rule states that certain qualified institutional investors are allowed to report their stakes on Schedule 13G with more relaxed deadlines, as long as they are either registered investment advisors, registered broker-dealers, banks, or insurance companies, among others. Qualified institutional investors may then file a 13G within 45 days after the end of the calendar year that they acquired more than 5 percent of the stock.

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Christopher Hansen’s Valiant Capital Management established a new, sizable stake in Amazon.com in the fourth quarter. The San Francisco-based Tiger Grandcub bought nearly $74 million worth of the online e-commerce giant, making it his fifth largest holding and accounting for nearly 8 percent of his U.S. equity assets, according to his firm’s fourth-quarter 13F filing. Keep in mind that Valiant typically maintains a large exposure to overseas markets, especially in the emerging markets. Valiant’s largest U.S. holding remains Apple, even though the hedge fund trimmed the position in the fourth quarter. It also closed out a large position in America Movil, the Mexican telecommunications company.

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Asian hedge funds managed a total of $119.75 billion at year-end, which includes an increase of $2.3 billion in the fourth quarter, according to Chicago-based HFR. For the full year, Asian hedge funds increased capital by $7.4 billion, including inflows of $3.8 billion. In 2013, capital increased by $24 billion on $10.5 billion of inflows. The top-performing Asian group last year was the HFRI EM: India Index, which rose 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter and 44.4 percent for the entire year.

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Houston-based alternative investments firm Salient Partners is acquiring San Francisco-based Forward Management. When the deal is completed — scheduled for the second quarter — the merged firm will manage and advise more than $27 billion in assets. The deal is expected to boost Salient’s growth in liquid alternatives strategies, including master limited partnerships, real estate investment trust securities, trend following, risk parity and hard-to-access equity and credit markets, according to a press release.

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