Back in late March, when a handful of
colluding enterprising prime brokers decided to quickly liquidate their exposure to the now infamous Archegos, realizing that they have to be the first to do so or suffer billions in losses (as Credit Suisse and Nomura learned the hard way), the banks were furiously dialing some of their best hedge fund clients hoping to find willing buyers of billions in so-called "Archegos stocks."
They found one such gullible counterparty in Soros Fund Management, the investment firm of the well-known Democratic billionaire currently run by Chief Investment Officer Dawn Fitzpatrick, which we reported three months ago had purchased $375 million of the shares that PBs were scrambling to offload, with Soros reporting that as of March 31 - one day after the Archegos liquidation began in earnest - it had built up the following stakes.
- ViacomCBS $194.3MM (4.31MM shares)
- Baidu $77MM (353.8K shares)
- Tencent $46.4MM (1.55MM shares)
- Discovery Class C $14.8MM (400K shares)
- DIscovery Class A $8.7MM (200K shares)
A look at the prior 13F shows that the fund did not own any of these stocks before the end of the first quarter.
Was there any fundamental, value-driven insight behind this rushed purchase by Soros' minions, which even the PBs advised their clients was the result of a liquidating counterparty?
We now know that the answer is no, and instead Soros was buying up the Archegos shares simply in hopes of then flipping its holdings to even greater fools once the price rebounded. Alas, not only did the price not rebound, but Soros failed to find such a greater fool as the price of Archegos shares failed to rise in the subsequent three months, and according to the latest Soros 13F the hedge fund has now dumped all of its Archegos holdings at what appears to be a sizable loss.
As shown below, the five Archegos stocks which Soros had rushed to buy in Q1 were no longer listed in the hedge fund's 13F as of June 30, meaning that Soros dumped all 194.3 million of ViacomCBS, $77 million of Baidu and $46.4 million of stock in Vipshop shares, while also liquidating its $33.8 million and $23.5 million positions in Tencent Music and Discovery, respectively.
Why did Soros dump its holdings? Simple: the fund was betting on a quick rebound once the liquidation selling pressure ended, at which point greater fools would come out and Buy the Fucking Dip. But instead, all of the Archegos-linked stocks continued their slide in the second quarter. Vipshop plunged 33% in the three months through June, Tencent Music tumbled about 24%, Discovery dropped about 21% and Baidu fell 6.3%. As a result, Soros incurred millions on losses on what it hoped would be a quick turnaround trade, and with little hope for a turnaround, it then proceeded to liquidate the positions.
Previously, Coros CIO Dawn Fitzpatrick had said she’s willing to jump on dislocations in the market and “not just double down but triple down when the facts and circumstances support that.” But not in this case, when it turned out that Soros was the final fool in that particular liquidation chain. But don't feel too bad for the fund: in its 13F it reported that its total long US equities had risen to just under $ 6 billion, up $600 million in the quarter, even though a sizable chunk of these was in the form of call and put notional equivalent, including some $153 million in SPY puts.
As for Hwang, who lost $20 billion as quietly as he had made it - if much more quickly - we reported that the former Tiger Asia boss was just as quietly plotting his return to Total Return swap glory from the sleepy New Jersey suburb on Tenafly, even as Archegos's bankers are scrambling to uncover if Hwang has any outside wealth that they can claw back to offset their losses.