Lee Ainslie is at the helm of Maverick Capital, a hedge fund currently valued at $6.94 billion. It has a 10.44% annualized average return over the past three years. In the last quarter of 2015, the hedge fund enjoyed return 3.2%, making it one of the top 25 hedge funds. Ainslie made several changes to Maverick Capital’s holdings, including selling out of Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) while increasing his positions in Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) and Allergan plc Ordinary Shares (NYSE:AGN).
Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc
Maverick Capital shed all its shares of Valeant Pharma in the fourth quarter. The fund sold about 800,000 shares valued at over $140 million. However, healthcare stocks still comprise 14% of the portfolio’s total holdings.
It’s been a bumpy ride for Valeant since the company was accused of fraud concerning its relationship with Philidor, a specialty pharmaceutical company. Valeant denied any wrongdoing, cut ties with Philidor, and signed a 20-year deal with Walgreens. Despite the company’s swift and proactive reaction to the accusations, shares fell more than 43% in the fourth quarter. To make matters worse, the company is also under Congress’s close watch due to price gauging concerns.
Although many analysts fell to the sidelines during this ordeal, most analysts still recommend buying the stock during share price weakness. According to TipRanks, 10 analysts are bullish on the stock, 1 is bearish, and 6 remain neutral. The average 12-month price target between these 17 analysts is $151.57, marking a 78% potential upside from current levels.
Ainslie increased Maverick’s position in Yelp by more than 177% in the fourth quarter. Now, his 4.36 million shares are valued at about $125.58 million and comprise 1.81% of the portfolio’s total holdings. Shares of the crowd-sourced review platform increased nearly 33% in the fourth quarter, though they have subsequently fallen 36% since the New Year.
The company posted strong earnings for the quarter, though missed EPS estimates. The company has been trying to increase its user base amid fears of decelerating growth. Although many were pleased with the strong revenue figure, analysts point to sales and marketing investments as the root of the EPS miss. Some believe that Yelp is primed to be acquired by a larger company, especially since the public has been second guessing the value of technology stocks in 2016. Furthermore, many point to CFO Rob Krolik’s resignation as writing on the wall.
According to TipRanks, 8 analysts recommend buying shares of Yelp, 1 recommends selling it, and 10 remain on the sidelines. The average 12-month price target between these 19 analysts is $22.86, marking a 25% potential upside from current levels.
Allergan plc Ordinary Shares
Maverick increased its position in Allergan by more than 17% in the fourth quarter. The fund now holds nearly 680,000 shares valued at $212.48 million. This comprises more than 3% of Maverick’s total holdings. Shares of the healthcare company increased nearly 15% in the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Allergan announced a $160 billion merger deal with Pfizer. The hedge fund also increased its stake in Pfizer by 62% in the fourth quarter with a position now valued at $364.73 million. Pfizer is the fourth largest holding in Maverick’s portfolio, comprising 5.2% of total holdings. The deal between the two companies is historic as it will create the world’s largest drug company. Allergan is most known for Botox while Pfizer is most known for Viagra and Lipitor. The two companies have come under fire as accusations claim that the move is a massive tax dodge, but the companies maintain that the merger will benefit U.S. businesses.
Analysts seem to be in-line with Ainslie’s moves as all 8 of the analysts polled by TipRanks recommend buying shares of Allergan. The average 12-month price target between them is $363.38, marking a 32% potential upside from current levels.