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Viking Global discloses position in Avis Budget Group

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Jan. 7 2015, Published 4:04 p.m. ET

New position in Avis Budget Group

Andreas Halvorsen’s hedge fund Viking Global Investors started a new position in Avis Budget Group (CAR). Viking filed a 13G with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on December 29, 2014. The fund acquired a 5% stake in Avis Budget Group, or Avis, with over 5.34 million shares.

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Avis Budget Group in brief

Avis is a leading global provider of vehicle rental and car-sharing services through its Avis, Budget, and Zipcar brands.

Viking and Avis                  

In its 13G filing, Viking Global said the shares were not acquired for the purpose of changing or influencing ownership control of Avis. Avis shares gained more than 2% after Viking’s announcement. Viking was the second major hedge fund to disclose a position in Avis after Glenview Capital Management.

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Glenview Capital’s increased position in Avis

Glenview Capital announced its position in Avis in a 13G filing on December 22, 2014. The fund purchased a 5.12% stake or 5.4 million shares in Avis. The shares rose by 8% after Glenview’s disclosure. A price increase announcement by Avis rival Hertz Global Holdings (HTZ) also drove the rise.

Avis shares are up 64% over the past 52 weeks.

Hedge fund interest in rental car industry

Jana Partners announced a 7% stake in Hertz Global Holdings during 3Q14. Activist investor Carl Icahn also owns a stake of 10.77% in HTZ. Icahn won board seats at the company and pushed the CEO to step down. Hertz shares are down 14.5% year-to-date.

In January, Greenwoods Asset Management increased its passive stake in eHi Car Services Ltd. (EHIC) to 16.7%.

Viking Global’s other 13G positions

Other than the Avis Budget Group position, Viking Global disclosed 13G passive positions in Wayfair Inc. (W) and Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD). Wayfair is an e-commerce company that went public on October 2. Pioneer Natural Resources is an oil and gas exploration and production company.

On October 14, Viking disclosed a 12.6% stake in Wayfair. On October 24, the fund announced its increased stake of 4.7% in Pioneer Natural Resources.

In subsequent parts of this series, we’ll discuss Avis Budget Group in more detail.

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