Eton Park initiates a new position in Priceline Group
In 4Q14, around 112 hedge funds created a new position in Priceline Group (PCLN), including Eric Mindich’s Eton Park. The performance of online travel companies is directly related to their number of bookings.
In terms of gross bookings, Expedia (EXPE) ranks first among online travel companies. It generated $50.4 billion in fiscal 2014. It’s followed closely by Priceline Group with gross bookings of $50.3 billion. Orbitz (OWW) is third with gross bookings of $12.4 billion for the same period.
Since the Priceline Group outperformed the online travel sector so far in 2015, this move by Eton Park appears to be due to expectations of rise in the company’s revenue growth.
According to aggregated 13F data, there were a total of 275 hedge funds that increased their position in Priceline Group during 4Q14. A total of 63 hedge funds had this stock in their top ten holding. As of December 31, 2014, institutional investors owned 49 million shares of Priceline Group. Among institutions that added Priceline Group as a new position, Eton Park was ranked second in terms of shares added.
Among institutions with holdings above 250 million, no clear consensus was observed for Priceline Group.
In this series, we’ll go through Priceline Group’s scorecard over the last quarter to see if these bets paid off. We’ll take a deeper look into Priceline Group’s current and longer-term drivers. We will also analyze Priceline Group from the point of view of a multi-strategy fund. We’ll see whether Eton Park used Priceline Group as a fundamental bottom up play or as part of larger play on online travel companies. Priceline Group’s platform allows customers to make travel reservations with travel providers globally.
Eton Park’s other top new positions
During 4Q14, Eton Park’s other top new positions were CDK Global (CDK), EQT (EQT), and KLX (KLX). Eton Park also started a new position in Expedia (EXPE). Together, Priceline Group and Expedia account for 3.05% of the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLY).