21 Aug

George Soros Buys Slack, Increases SPY Short Exposure

WRITTEN BY Mike Sonnenberg

Last week, legendary investor George Soros’ Soros Fund Management published its 13F filing for the second quarter.

George Soros buys Slack

The filing showed that Soros bought almost 500,000 Slack (WORK) shares at an average price of $37.5 per share during the second quarter. The fund paid $18.7 million for Slack shares. Slack accounted for just 0.44% of the fund’s total holdings.

Slack had an outstanding public debut in June. The company ditched bankers and went public through the direct offering route. At $38.5, the stock opened significantly higher than the NYSE reference price of $26. However, the stock has been on a downturn in the third quarter. So far, the stock has lost 18.7%. On Tuesday, Slack closed 2% lower at $30.5. Softbank, which reported gains on Slack during the same period, might see the gains reverse in the current quarter due to Slack’s lower stock price.

Slack is battling rising competition from Microsoft (MSFT) Teams and Facebook (FB) Workplace. Last month, Microsoft Teams beat Slack in terms of daily active users. However, Slack provided an update. The company made its desktop and web versions faster to take on the competition. Facebook is also getting itself ready for the competition by redesigning the Workplace product.

Bullish on big tech?

Soros Fund Management’s 13F filing also showed that the fund bought into the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ). QQQ has substantial exposure to the tech sector. At $217.6 million, QQQ’s exposure accounted for 5.1% of the Soros Fund’s total portfolio. The filing also showed that the fund bought 65,750 Google (GOOG) (GOOGL) shares during the quarter. The market value of Soros Fund’s Google stocks was $71.2 million as of June 30. Slack and Google have a collaborative partnership. Slack also has an integration with Google suite. Google accounts for about 8.5% of QQQ.

Apart from Google, the Soros Fund took a long position in Symantec (SYMC) during the quarter. The fund bought around 1.9 million shares in the company with a value of $40.3 million as of June 30. The fund reported a 59% increase in its holdings in RedHat (RHT) during the quarter. Subsequently, IBM announced the completed Redhat acquisition on July 9. eBay was also a new entrant in the fund’s portfolio during the quarter.

George Soros’ big investments

Liberty Broadband (LBRDK) remained the biggest investment in Soros Fund Management’s portfolio. However, the fund sold some of the shares during the quarter. At a market value of $755.6 million as of June 30, Liberty Broadband accounted for 15.5% of the fund’s portfolio as of June 30. The fund continued to get bullish on VICI Properties (VICI). Soros Fund bought more shares during the quarter. The fund’s investment in the real estate company was $452.6 million as of June 30. VICI Properties accounted for 10.6% of the fund’s portfolio.

George Soros gets more bearing on SPY

During the quarter, Soros Fund Management increased its short exposure in the S&P 500. The fund bought 17,000 puts on the SPDR S&P500 ETF (SPY) during the quarter. Soros has been a vocal critique of President Trump’s approach in dealing with China. He said that President Trump’s approach is “too simplistic.” Soros isn’t alone in his bearishness. JPMorgan Chase already said that the market could crash in the current quarter.

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