Hedge Fund Viking Global Discloses New TripAdvisor (TRIP) Stake ~ market folly

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hedge Fund Viking Global Discloses New TripAdvisor (TRIP) Stake

Andreas Halvorsen's hedge fund firm Viking Global just now filed a 13G with the SEC regarding shares of TripAdvisor (TRIP).

Viking has disclosed a 6.0% ownership stake in TRIP with 7,200,112 shares due to portfolio activity on January 23rd. It seems that a sizable portion of their position is held in their Viking Global Equities III investment vehicle.

We've examined the bull and bear investment theses for Expedia (EXPE) and TripAdvisor (TRIP) in a prior issue of our Hedge Fund Wisdom newsletter.

New Position... But How New?

It's particularly difficult to say when and by how much Viking was adding to this position due to a few factors. Firstly, TripAdvisor completed its spin-off from Expedia (EXPE) on December 20th, 2011. Right before this, EXPE completed a one-for-two reverse stock split and then shareholders became entitled to receive one share of TRIP and one share of EXPE for every two shares of the old EXPE entity owned.

Viking Global did not own shares of Expedia as of the end of the third quarter (September 30th, 2011). Also, due to the fact that SEC filings are made on a delayed basis, Viking won't have to disclose their 2011 year-end positions until February 15th. As such, it's entirely possible that they bought shares of EXPE in December and received TRIP shares in the spin-off.

However, something also worth considering is the fact that Viking did not cross a regulatory threshold required to file with the SEC until January 23rd. At the very least, that means that they purchased some TRIP shares recently. And theoretically, they could have simply bought their entire position of the separate TRIP entity post spin-off.

Either way, Viking's position in TripAdvisor is a new holding for them because they hadn't disclosed a position in Expedia or TripAdvisor prior to now.

But given the opacity surrounding the situation, it's impossible to know exactly when they were buying. And that certainly makes a difference given the fact that shares of TripAdvisor began trading at around $24 and are currently trading 43% higher.

TripAdvisor Company Background

Per Google Finance, TripAdvisor is "is an online travel research company, enabling users to plan and have a trip. TripAdvisor features reviews and advice on hotels, resorts, flights, vacation rentals, vacation packages and travel guides. TripAdvisor’s travel research platform features reviews and opinions from its community of travelers about destinations, accommodations (hotels, bed and breakfasts, specialty lodging and vacation rentals), restaurants and activities worldwide, through its TripAdvisor brand."

To see the bull and bear case on Expedia and TripAdvisor, sign-up for our premium Hedge Fund Wisdom newsletter and download the old issues.

blog comments powered by Disqus