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David Einhorn's hedge fund Greenlight Capital Inc. said it has exited an investment in Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) made earlier this year with "a modest loss," as the value of the Internet company's Chinese assets came into doubt.
Losses related to investments in Yahoo--and bets that the Japanese yen would weaken and consumer cyclical stocks would fall--resulted in declines of between 2.1% and 2.5% among Greenlight funds in the second quarter, according to an investor letter. For the first half, the funds were 5% to 5.3% lower.
In the letter to its investors, posted on website zerohedge.com, the manager said the finger-pointing after part of Yahoo's Chinese assets--an online-payments business--were transferred to another company "wasn't what we signed up for."
The Chinese unit Greenlight referred to was Alibaba.com Ltd. (1688.HK, ALBIY). Its Chairman and Chief Executive Jack Ma transferred the ownership of Chinese online-payments business Alipay in August to an entity he controlled without reporting the move to the company's investors until earlier this year, sparking a flurry of public exchanges with Yahoo. The matter has yet to be resolved.
Einhorn, who recently made a personal investment in baseball's New York Mets, invested in 8.5 million Yahoo shares for a 0.65% stake at the end of March, according to a regulatory filing in May. In an April 29 letter to investors, he said the investment was made on bullish prospects for the Internet company's exposure to China.
"We would not be surprised if YHOO's 40% stake in [China-based] Alibaba Group alone was ultimately worth YHOO's entire current market value," he said then.
During the second quarter, Greenlight said it also exited a few other investments. In particular, the firm sold a two-year investment in Cardinal Health Inc. (CAH) with a significant gain as the stock's earnings grew 40%; CIT Group Inc. (CIT) with a solid gain as the bank's management "proved not to be very shareholder-oriented," Vicat S.A. (VCT.FR) with "a break-even result"; and Xerox Corp. (XRX) with "a modest gain" because of concerns resulting from the Japanese earthquake.
One medium-sized long position the hedge fund manager went into was Seagate Technology Inc. (STX), a manufacturer of hard disk drives. The letter noted that Seagate is in the process of buying Samsung's hard drive operations, while competitor Western Digital Corp. (WDC) is in the midst of acquiring Hitachi's.
"Following these transactions, the industry will have three rather than five major players, which should increase operating stability," the letter said.
-By Amy Or, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3142; firstname.lastname@example.org