Chase Coleman's Tiger Global Purchases Stake in Russian Travel Portal ~ market folly

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chase Coleman's Tiger Global Purchases Stake in Russian Travel Portal

While we typically cover investments hedge funds make in public companies, we like to keep an eye on investments made in private companies as well. The reason? A potential lead to secular themes that investment firms are targeting. Case in point: hedge fund Tiger Global and its portfolio of web properties.

According to Russian newspaper Vedomosti, Chase Coleman's hedge fund has paid $10 million for a 40% stake in, an online ticket booking site in Russia. The site is owned by an affiliate of Valars, a grain trading company also based in Russia. The website currently garners around 3% of the Russian online airline ticket sales market and sees yearly revenue of around $5 million. The company is also planning to 'revitalize' its presence in the hotel booking segment as well.

Those of you familiar with Chase Coleman's hedge fund firm will already know that they have a small portion of the portfolio allocated to private investments. And more often than not, that allocation is targeted at the technology sector. Tiger Global of course was founded by Chase Coleman after being seeded by legendary hedge fund manager Julian Robertson.

Glancing at some of Tiger Global's other private stakes, you start to see a theme of emerging market online portals. Tiger also owns a stake in Yandex, a Russian search/portal company, a position in Yonja (a Turkish social media site), Indian focused online travel site (which recently filed to go public), as well as a stake in Maktoob (an Arabic portal site that was acquired by Yahoo). Examining Tiger's public equity stakes, you see the online portal theme continues. As of the first quarter, they also owned sizable stakes in Google (GOOG), Mercadolibre (MELI), and (PCLN). They definitely have a decent amount of exposure to the portal/travel meme in both public and private stakes.

Those of you interested in the rest of Coleman's investments can check out Tiger Global's portfolio.

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