Abandon Apple Ship? Ken Heebner Dumps Almost Entire Apple Stake

Tyler Durden's picture

Is the game theory defection dump of the world's biggest hedge fund hotel starting? In a just released 13F filing, Ken Heebner's Capital Growth Management has disclosed that he has reduced his holdings in Apple almost to zero. After holding 1.15 million AAPL shares as of June 30 (which made him holder #100 in the name sorted by size), Ken Heebner who is a regular guest on CNBC courtesy of his bullish tendencies, sold virtually his entire stake, leaving him with just 111,000 shares. One can only speculate about the causes, although it is notable that the last time Heebner did a comparable dump was in late 2008, when after the Lehman bankruptcy he liquidated half his million share stake. Is Heebner sensing something comparable to what happened in late 2008 on the horizon? Or was he satisfying margin calls? Or, most innocently, did he just sell what is probably his most profitable position, "just because" - inquiring minds want to know. We will keep an eye out on who else dumped Apple as the barrage of Q3 13F issuance begins today and ends on Monday.

Source: CapIQ

h/t Brian

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fallingman's picture

name sorted by size, bitchez!

Reggie Middleton's picture

This is excerpted from a post I just made on the Apple topic, but I thought I throw some pics here to pretty the place up a bit...

I’m not going to got through a whole bunch of “I told you so’s”, but Heebner knows how to count, and probably sees the margin writing on the wall: A Quick Peek Into the REAL WORLD Logic That Went Into Building the BoomBustBlog Apple Model: It’s Called Compression!!! Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Add to that the fact that he probably realizes.  Of course, like me he may have seen After all, Reggie Middleton Wasn’t the ONLY Openly Apple Bear in the Blogoshpere, Was He?

Heebner is not the only one reading BoomBustBlog and/or deciding to leave the Apple cult, as excerpted from the “Peek Into the REAL WORLD Logic” link above:

“The rising popularity of devices using Google’s Android software may hurt Apple in the long term, said Michael Obuchowski, chief investment officer of First Empire Asset Management, which holds Apple shares. “Everyone is closing in and it’s a huge question of how they are going to respond,” said Obuchowski, whose firm oversees $4 billion. “I’m really worried about Apple; I’m not convinced that I’m going to hold Apple two years from now.””

“‘Commodity’ Experience
Jobs dismissed the threat of rivals. Apple’s approach of designing the software and hardware for its devices results in a better user experience, he said. By contrast, Google gives Android free to handset makers including Motorola Inc. and HTC Corp., creating a “commodity” experience, he said. “We are very committed to the integrated approach, no matter how many times Google tries to characterize it as closed,” Jobs said. He said Apple is outselling BlackBerry-maker RIM and he doesn’t “see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future.””

Notice how he failed to say Apple was outselling Android. This is material, because they were materially outselling Android 2 and 3 quarters ago. Androids growth rate is simply phenomenal, and its business model may prove unassailable unless Apple makes some drastic changes (ex. allowing cloning) – changes that I doubt management will be willing to make. Jobs also (understandably) failed to mention that the “commodity’ Androids materially outperform the iOS products in terms of features and functionality. This is pretty much in direct contravention to the concept of the term “commodity”, isn’t it???? I don’t think many Samsung Galaxy S, Droid X or HTC Evo owners will characterize their devices as “commodities”.

“Munster, who estimated Apple would sell 11 million iPhones, said last week that supply shortages likely held back sales of both the smartphone and iPad. The cost of making the iPhone may be increasing, said Andy Hargreaves, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Oregon. The device accounts for 43 percent of Apple’s revenue [and much more of their profit!!!]. ‘‘We saw what we think is a pretty remarkable increase in iPhone costs,” and that’s fueled concern over margins, Hargreaves said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.”

Good to know he’s been reading BoomBustBlog. Remember, supply shortages can very well stem from competition for suppliers and supplier’s attention. Is it Android again??? Here’s a hint… Does the sole patent holder and sole manufacturer of Apple’s branded IPS Retina Screen plan to become one of the most prolific Android phone vendor’s in the world? If so, where does that leave Apple? Margin compression!!! Or worse. Read up on your proprietary Apple content BoombBustBlog subscribers!

“Verizon Phone – Even so, competition is increasing. The Android operating system was the most popular smartphone software in the U.S. in the second quarter, according to Gartner Inc. Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Dell Inc. are among the companies using Android in tablet computers to rival the iPad. Hewlett-Packard Co., the largest computer maker, is developing a tablet computer.
Apple may get a sales boost by expanding the availability of the iPhone in the U.S. Verizon Wireless may begin selling it in January, two people familiar with the matter said in June.”

You can bet your left nostril hairs that the deal Verizon cut is NO WHERE near as sweet as the one AT&T gave Apple. What does this spell? Margin COMPRESSION in the quest for wider distribution to prevent Android (to late) from gaining critical mass and taking over.

There’s just so many reasons for the big Apple dumpt. Of course, there is no reason to liquidate nearly all of such a large position for liquidity reasons unless you feel it has run its course, or worse. Then again… What do I know?

Below is a graph showing the longer term trend of Apple market share in the smart phone space. It illustrates the explosive growth Apple has had through its iPhone series, and it also shows some seasonality (ex. lull before hardware upgrade season, etc.). As you can see, the growth trend, viewed either directly or as a moving average, shows marked downward momentum. Of course, it is highly unreasonable to expect a company to continue to grow at the pace that Apple has, but that is exactly what many Apple valuation models that I have come across have – literally hard-coded in. This is folly, in my opinion – particularly considering the effect of the Android competition that is already showing up. If you look closely, Apple’s smart phone market share is already showing NEGATIVE growth!

Since I know that the chart may be a little difficult to read at the tail end encompassing several years of data, I have taken the liberty to drill down to the past year to get a closer look. Remember, Android sales didn’t really get started until 8 months ago, and the big surge didn’t occur until the Evo/Droid X/Samsung Galaxy series were launched in June, July and August – most of which is not captured here. The same is to be said for Apple and the iPhone 4.

Click to enlarge to printer size!

Despite increases in both the overall mobile market and more importantly, the smart phone contingent’s penetration of said market:

  1. Apple’s smart phone shipments are showing a negative growth trend
  2. and more importantly, Apple’s smart phone market share is experiencing a very sharp downward trend as shown by both direct observation and that of the 2 period moving average

I am bullish on certain tech companies, but I am bearish on the US equity markets in general, as I warned in my latest Google Quarterly opinion: Google Q3 2010 review for all paying subscribers (click here to subscribe):

Cruel Aid's picture

I'm sure everybody here got out before Heebner. There is a lot of scrambling going on now.

Cojones's picture

You're forgetting one very important sales concept, Reggie. The Apple $89 MacBook Pro Power adapters. Just today I picked up the fourth for my 2 year old MBP. They must be a big moneymaker since everyone I know has to replace the adapter at least once a year.

Manufacturing price of this sealed shut piece of crap? $2 max. Waranty? Never. Apple simply claims you are the one responsible for breaking it. Apple sucks monkeyballs.

EvlTheCat's picture

"Manufacturing price of this sealed shut piece of crap? $2 max. Waranty? Never. Apple simply claims you are the one responsible for breaking it. Apple sucks monkeyballs."

I though you were leading up to one of those "priceless" endings like in the Basturdcard comercials.  Apple has always sucked monkeyballs.

centerline's picture

APPL flash crash?

Ragnarok's picture

Range 212-316, WTF!


Edit: Now I'm getting 309-316.... hmmm

Spalding_Smailes's picture

Maybe he wanted to buy CROCS ??

SheepDog-One's picture

Or some KKD! I hear its under priced again.

CPL's picture

I never understood the concept of a billion dollar IPO based on shitty gardening shoes...reminds me of Dutch Tulip scams a la the 1700's.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

The soft material wears out faster than regular shoes, so people need to buy Crocs more frequently.  Duh!  Ever heard of Diet Coke?  The next great stock I am looking for is a company that makes you look better, but only until you wash.  Oh wait, that is AVON.

redpill's picture

Someone call 911 and tell the Paramedics they need to check on RobotTrader, he should be put on suicide watch!

Dr. No's picture

Robo was short AAPL at earnings.  Not sure of his current holdings.

Assetman's picture

Heebner probably crapped his pants when John Chambers suggested state and local (schools) governments aren't buying stuff.

He's probably buying high yield muni debt on the expectation that the Fed will by this at 100 cents on the dollar, too. 

Cruel Aid's picture

Somebody is buying Muni Etf's today after the recent cliff dive.

doolittlegeorge's picture

let's see...my math is a little rusty...is that "$300+ million dollars"?  "just imagine being that holder" for a moment!  hard to tell with China "playing the rare earth card."  Apple still is...Apple.  "They make people money therefore they have friends."  If he's smart (and he's one of the best) "he's eyeballing GM while keeping an eye on the tax rates which in theory will stay the same."

SheepDog-One's picture

Well, until the ICBM's start flying again anyway.

Xedus129's picture

Thought it was a plane ;)

bonddude's picture

Yeah, with no wings, ha.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

Sure wish I could short USPS...


Same type of brain trust running the rest of the .gov, right?

The best of the best of the best, like Harry Wanger(s) as an example.

CPL's picture

He's probably running for a physical gold train. We've all been seeing the typical loud mouth bull getting their asses in gear to move into a position of extreme liquidity to purchase tonnes of gold.

I can't see whatelse that type of capitialization is needed for...


Unless KB is the mystery UK bailout contributor offering 5 billion to bail out that old bitch the Queen a couple of weeks ago. Trying to find a link but as usual Google news has been a monument to news retraction/censorship.


ITT: if you have a conspiracy theory!!!

Citxmech's picture

+100 on Google "news" being worthless

- other than as an indicator of what the NSA doesn't want you to see, that is.


Spalding_Smailes's picture

So how long does pomo run ..... ?

tmosley's picture

Today's POMO was done an hour ago.  You'll have to wait until Monday for your next one.


SheepDog-One's picture

Dang I hope POMO doesnt run MUCH longer! This is a damn disaster!

Bernanke- 'Note to self...retool POMO, name it something else, put Heebner on top of Secret Service watch and harassment list'

HarryWanger's picture

Market doesn't like it when the world's 2nd largest company starts selling off. 

SheepDog-One's picture

Yea, and crazy how the 2nd largest company in the world only produces worthless IGadgets.

HarryWanger's picture

I used to defend their computers but once they started in the iGadget biz it seems like they forgot about quality on their computers. I own a total of 7 macs for business. All purchased between 2006 and last month. Four were absolute lemons and had to be replaced and or repaired within a few months of purchase. It's a shame. Used to be a great computer maker now just a fad gadget manufacturer.

Spalding_Smailes's picture

I love the apple computers ours are like tanks we have 6-7 ... 2 of them are 6 years old ... (Graphic Design/Pre-press)



HarryWanger's picture

Funny thing is, our two oldest G5 towers are unreal. Never had a problem with them at all. Just the new stuff. We've been theorizing for a couple of years that once MacWorld started putting iPhones on every cover, it's like the Mac got no attention at Apple and quality plummeted. 

Citxmech's picture

The old saw was that PC's required you to learn way more about your computer than you ever wanted to know.  That was the benefit of the Macs.  They were easy and intuitive.  Apple f'kd up when they held the reigns too tightly and snubbed the gamers.  Then they had to play catchup, which they did by appealing to Gen X snobbery - "I have a Macbook so I'm on the cutting edge of hip" kindof shit. 

All I want my computer to do is to work well.

The last straw for me was the iPod not having user serviceable batteries. 

Fk Apple.

e1618978's picture

Gaming on the mac is better than ever, you have old information.  Valve has steam, which distributes games on the PC and Mac at the same time, and all Blizzard games are on the mac.   My mac pro is two years old and is fantastic, don't know about the cheaper computers.

Xedus129's picture

That's only because Blizzard writes their games in openGL.  OpenGL isn't bad but there are better gfx engines.

detournement's picture

gaming on the mac is great if you run windows on it, otherwise have fun with 'Worms'

Skeebo's picture

"Better than ever" still equals "for shit" compared to any alternative.

Cruel Aid's picture

Check your power source. Mine are dependable workhorses. Dell, now there is a POS unit!

It's a shame because they are local.

still kicking's picture

Mac, PC, Iphone, Blackberry, Nokia it's all the same shitty hardware, it is designed to burn out so that you have to go buy new ones every couple of years.  They don't make this stuff to last any longer than that on purpose.

redpill's picture

All this deflationary activity is going to prompt some folks to change their ipad for a fresh one

Papa Legba's picture

Yeah. Keep thinking that's all Apple produces.

SheepDog-One's picture

Oh right, Apple also produces a very high rate of Chinese slave labor suicides too.

Xedus129's picture

Apple has helped the devolution of computing.  Closed-source, closed-mind, pink, idiot boxes is all they produce.

tmosley's picture

Hey, it works.  

Better than marketing a box that only a highly trained supergenius can keep operational and secure to "idiots".

Xedus129's picture

I just get so pissed at the fact that they control development for their devices so much.  It stiffles innovation IMO, look at Android, Google understands the value of open-development.  Plus all Apple does is rename products made 10 years ago with an i in front of it.