Phil Falcone's Harbinger Capital Bets Big on Sprint Nextel (S): 13F Filing ~ market folly

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Phil Falcone's Harbinger Capital Bets Big on Sprint Nextel (S): 13F Filing

(This post is part of our series on tracking hedge fund portfolios. If you're unfamiliar with tracking investments they disclose via SEC filings, check out our series preface on hedge fund 13F filings.)

Next up is Philip Falcone's hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners. Falcone runs his $6 billion hedge fund with a focus both on distressed and equity plays and often takes concentrated positions in companies. And, that last reason is exactly why we track them. Even though we can't see their distressed plays (they aren't required to disclose them), we can track their equity plays that they have high conviction in. You aren't going to devote large portions of your portfolio to one company unless you truly believe in your thesis. After having a dismal 2008, Harbinger had a solid showing last year as they finished up 46.5% as we noted in our 2009 hedge fund performance numbers post.

The positions listed below were Harbinger's long equity, note, and options holdings as of December 31st, 2009 as filed with the SEC. All holdings are common stock unless otherwise denoted.

Brand New Positions
Sprint (S)
Exco Resources (XCO)
Take Two Interactive (TTWO)
SPDR Gold Trust (GLD)
Corn Products (CPO)
US Airways (LCC)
Superior Well Services (SWSI)
Cloud Peak Energy (CLD)
Alpha Natural Resources (ANR)
iStar Financial (SFI)
Delta Petroleum Bond
The rest of the new stakes were each less than 0.25% of reported holdings: ICO Global (ICOG), MGIC Investment (MTG), & Strategic Hotels (BEE)

Increased Positions
Harry Winston Diamond (HWD): Increased by 587%
Walter Energy (WLT): Increased by 128.5%
Complete Production (CPX): Increased by 44.5%
Mercer International (MERC): Increased by 11.7% (we detailed their convertible bond exposure)

Reduced Positions
Interpublic Group (IPG): Reduced by 46.5%
Freeport McMoran (FCX): Reduced by 38.2%
Calpine (CPN): Reduced by 28.1%
Media Gen (MEG): Reduced by 18.1%

Removed Positions (Sold out completely):
McDermott (MDR)
Solutia (SOA) ~ we saw this coming with their previous repetitive sales
Zapata (ZAP)
Gentek (GETI)
USEC Bond International Coal (ICO)

Top 15 Holdings by percentage of assets reported on 13F filing

  1. Calpine (CPN): 18.47%
  2. Sprint Nextel (S): 15.35%
  3. New York Times (NYT): 12.71%
  4. Walter Energy (WLT): 10.42%
  5. Complete Production Services (CPX): 5.31%
  6. Interpublic Group (IPG): 4.81%
  7. Exco Resources (XCO): 4.75%
  8. Freeport McMoran (FCX): 3.82%
  9. Take Two Interactive (TTWO): 3.26%
  10. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD): 3%
  11. Corn Products (CPO): 2.35%
  12. US Airways (LCC): 2.17%
  13. Terrestar (TSTR): 1.66%
  14. Harry Winston Diamond (HWD): 1.57%
  15. Superior Well Services (SWSI): 1.37%

Harbinger runs quite a concentrated equity portfolio and remember that a lot of their holdings are also in distressed assets, Falcone's specialty. They turned over their portfolio quite significantly in the fourth quarter as a large portion of their top holdings are brand new positions. Most notable will be their stake in Sprint (S) which takes up over 15% of their reported assets. But also take not of their Exco Resources stake (XCO). We did, on the other hand, already know about their new Superior Wells position. This just goes to show that you have to track all SEC filings, not just the 13F's, as hedge funds will often give you glimpses into their portfolio on a much more real-time basis.

Most people will take notice of Harbinger's new stake in the gold ETF: GLD. So many hedge funds have some exposure to gold these days it's not even funny. We found two of Harbinger's new stakes intriguing. Firstly, Falcone has joined Carl Icahn in buying TTWO shares. Additionally, like David Tepper's Appaloosa Management, Falcone bought shares of airline LCC.

We saw some notable sales as Harbinger sold completely out of Solutia, something we saw coming as we detailed their seemingly constant sales of SOA. We had also seen Falcone's previous sales in CPN as well, so that wasn't surprising to see. It was interesting to see the hedge fund shed a good portion of their FCX position as they hadn't held it very long. Overall, Harbinger increased exposure to basic materials and sharply decreased exposure to Utilities.

All data used for this article comes from Alphaclone, our source for backtesting strategies and sorting through all the hedge fund portfolio maneuvers with ease. Assets reported on the 13F filing were $1.78 billion this quarter compared to $1.48 billion last quarter, a 20% increase. Remember that these filings are not representative of the hedge fund's entire base of AUM.

We'll be tracking 40+ prominent funds in our fourth quarter 2009 hedge fund portfolio tracking series. We've already covered Seth Klarman's Baupost Group, Mohnish Pabrai's Investment Fund, Carl Icahn's hedge fund Icahn Partners, David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital, Stephen Mandel's Lone Pine Capital, John Griffin's Blue Ridge Capital, David Tepper's Appaloosa Management, Warren Buffett's portfolio, John Paulson's hedge fund Paulson & Co, Lee Ainslie's Maverick Capital, Dan Loeb's Third Point, Eddie Lampert's RBS Partners, David Ott's Viking Global, Chris Shumway's hedge fund Shumway Capital Partners, and Chase Coleman's Tiger Global. Check back daily for our new updates.

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