John Griffin's Blue Ridge Capital 13F Filing: Q4 2008 ~ market folly

Thursday, March 12, 2009

John Griffin's Blue Ridge Capital 13F Filing: Q4 2008

This is the 4th Quarter 2008 edition of our ongoing hedge fund portfolio tracking series. Before reading this update, make sure you check out the Hedge Fund 13F filings preface.

Next up, we have John Griffin's Blue Ridge Capital. Now, Griffin is similar to Stephen Mandel at Lone Pine Capital, Andreas Halvorsen at Viking Global, and Lee Ainslie at Maverick Capital in that they all are 'Tiger Cubs' (a.k.a. pupils of Julian Robertson while at Tiger Management). Griffin though, is more well known because he was Julian Robertson's right hand man. So, needless to say, he knows his stuff. Blue Ridge seeks absolute returns by investing in companies who dominate their industries and shorting the companies who have fundamental problems. Do note that the 13F filing only requires funds to disclose long positions (unless they are short via puts, we can see those). In the past, we have, however, gotten one sneak peek at what Blue Ridge has been shorting. Both Griffin at Blue Ridge and Lee Ainslie over at Maverick Capital like to effectively hedge with a solid balance of both long and short positions (like a true hedge fund... not like some of the crazy funds these days that aren't truly hedged).

Griffin attended the University of Virginia for undergrad and received his MBA from Stanford. Recently, the University of Virginia hosted a hedge fund panel which consisted of many of the 'Tiger Cubs' as well as the founder of Tiger Management, Julian Robertson. At the panel, numerous hedge fund managers laid out some of their investment theses. Additionally, we noted that in the past, Blue Ridge has disclosed a 5.47% stake in Millipore (MIL).

The following were their long equity, note, and options holdings as of December 31st, 2008 as filed with the SEC. We have not detailed the changes to every single position in this update, but we have covered all the major moves. All holdings are common stock unless otherwise denoted.

Some New Positions (Brand new positions that they initiated in the last quarter):
Microsoft (MSFT)
National Oilwell Varco (NOV)
Mastercard (MA)
Genentech (DNA)
Petrobras (PBR)
XTO Energy (XTO)
Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM)
Discovery Communications (DISCA)
Devon Energy (DVN)
American Express (AXP)
Yamana Gold (AUY)
Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX)
Monsanto (MON)
Discovery Communications (DISCK)
Newmont Mining (NEM)
Goldcorp (GG)
Crown Castle (CCI)
Dell (DELL)
Ishares Biotech (IBB)
Calpine (CPN)
Blackrock (BLK)
Google (GOOG)
Valero (VLO)
Marathon Oil (MRO)
EOG Resources (EOG)
Wynn Resorts (WYNN)
iShares Mexico (EWW)
VimpelComm (VIP)
General Growth Properties (GGP)

Some Increased Positions (A few positions they already owned but added shares to)
Amgen (AMGN): Increased position by 182%
Greenlight Capital Re (GLRE): Increased position by 150%
Amazon (AMZN): Increased position by 26%
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A): Increased position by 18%
SPDR Gold Trust (GLD): Increased position by 16%
Goodrich Petroleum (GDP): Increased position by 15.9%
Millipore (MIL): Increased position by 11.9%
Covanta (CVA): Increased position by 8%

Some Reduced Positions (Some positions they sold some shares of - note not all sales listed)
Compton Petroleum (CMZ): Reduced position by 94.8%
Grupo Televisa (TV): Reduced position by 80.9%
Target (TGT): Reduced position by 71%
Anadarko Petroleum (APC): Reduced position by 51%
Exterran Holdings (EXH): Reduced position by 43%
Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO): Reduced position by 42%
Fomento Economico (FMX): Reduced position by 33.9%
Visa (V): Reduced position by 30%
Grupo Aeroportuario Pacifico (PAC): Reduced position by 14%

Removed Positions (Positions they sold out of completely)
Washington Mutual (WM) Puts
Perfect World (PWRD)
Elong (LONG)
Gold Reserve (GRZ)
Wachovia (WB-PT) Preferred T
Foster Wheeler (FWLT)
Las Vegas Sands (LVS)
Lululemon (LULU)
Goldman Sachs (GS)
Illumina (ILMN)
American Express (AXP) Calls
Eagle Materials (EXP)
Discovery Holdings (DSY)
Martin Marietta (MLM)
Hansen Natural (HANS)

Top 20 Holdings (by % of portfolio)

  1. Microsoft (MSFT): 6.3% of portfolio
  2. Covanta (CVA): 5.63% of portfolio
  3. Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A): 5.58% of portfolio
  4. National Oilwell Varco (NOV): 4.99% of portfolio
  5. Mastercard (MA): 4.94% of portfolio
  6. Amgen (AMGN): 4.68% of portfolio
  7. Millipore (MIL): 4.58% of portfolio
  8. Amazon (AMZN): 4.42% of portfolio
  9. Genentech (DNA): 3.67% of portfolio
  10. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD): 3.22% of portfolio
  11. Petroleo Brasileiro (PBR): 2.78% of portfolio
  12. XTO Energy (XTO): 2.57% of portfolio
  13. Broadridge Financial (BR): 2.47% of portfolio
  14. Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM): 2.36% of portfolio
  15. Discovery Communications (DISCA): 2.21% of portfolio
  16. Devon Energy (DVN): 2.18% of portfolio
  17. American Express (AXP): 2.16% of portfolio
  18. Yamana Gold (AUY): 1.9% of portfolio
  19. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX): 1.78% of portfolio
  20. Monsanto (MON): 1.68% of portfolio

They added Microsoft in a big way last quarter, starting it as a new position and bringing it all the way up to their top holding. Like Maverick, we also see that Blue Ridge sees value in Berkshire Hathaway here. And, like David Einhorn and Greenlight, they also like Gold and Gold Miners here. Assets from the collective long US equity, options, and note holdings were $2.6 billion last quarter and were $3.39 billion this quarter. This is just one of many funds in our hedge fund portfolio tracking series in which we're tracking 35+ prominent funds. We've already covered Paulson & Co (John Paulson), Carl Icahn, Warren Buffett, Stephen Mandel's Lone Pine Capital, George Soros, Bill Ackman's Pershing Square, Andreas Halvorsen's Viking Global, Timothy Barakett's Atticus Capital, David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital, Seth Klarman's Baupost Group, Peter Thiel's Clarium Capital, Bret Barakett's Tremblant Capital, David Stemerman's Conatus Capital, James Pallotta's Raptor Capital Management, and Lee Ainslie's Maverick Capital. Look for our updates as we will be covering a new fund each day.

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