May 15, 2015 / 5:27 PM / in 3 years

Top hedge fund managers boost stakes in Alibaba in first quarter

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Top U.S. hedge fund managers increased their stakes in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd at the end of the first quarter, positioning themselves to take advantage of any upswing after the Chinese e-commerce giant’s shares were beaten down by a surprise revenue miss in January.

The logo of the Alibaba Group is seen inside the company's headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province November 11, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song

Tiger Global Management, Viking Global Investors LP, Moore Capital Management and Tiger Management were among those that added to their position in Alibaba in the first quarter. Farallon Capital Management LLC took a fresh stake in the company, buying 221,000 shares valued at $18.4 million.

The moves come after a disappointing earnings report in January which sent the stock plunging, down 20 percent during the first quarter.

Shares of the company have since recovered, up 6.2 percent since the end of March and up nearly 9 percent in May alone. The company in May reported stronger quarterly results and announced the appointment of a new chief executive.

Among those who boosted their stake, Tiger Global Management increased its Alibaba stake by 15 percent to 6.7 million shares at the end of March; while Viking Global almost doubled its stake to 6.9 million shares; Tiger Management, led by Julian Robertson, upped its stake by 11 percent to 636,878 shares; and Louis Bacon’s Moore Capital Management boosted its stake more than 15-fold to 2.1 million shares from just 138,345 shares at the end of last year.

Daniel Loeb’s Third Point LLC took an opposite stance, dissolving its 10 million-share stake in Alibaba at the end of the first quarter. The hedge fund’s move to slash its Alibaba stake comes after it had been steadily building its position in the company in previous quarters.

Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors and Barry Rosenstein’s Jana Partners LLC, which both dissolved their stake in Alibaba at the end of last year, stayed out of the company, based on positions disclosed as of the end of March.

The firms are among the first of big hedge funds to report positions as of the end of March. U.S. regulators require large investors to disclose their stock holdings every quarter, providing a window into the strategies of some of the biggest managers. The disclosures, known as 13F filings, are due Friday.

Reporting by Ashley Lau in New York; Editing by Jennifer Ablan, Andre Grenon and Christian Plumb

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