David Einhorn revealed Monday that his hedge fund Greenlight Capital sold all of its Macy’s stock last quarter—more than 7 million shares that had been worth more than $300 million when he bought them, according to regulatory filings. The hedge fund manager is giving up on the stock less than a year after he bought it, and at a loss of more than $96 million.
In a letter to investors in January, Einhorn said he’d paid an average $45.69 per Macy’s share during the fall of 2015. By the time Einhorn sold it last quarter, Macy’s stock price had fallen to $32.08 per share, according to an investor letter obtained by ValueWalk, down nearly 30% from when he’d bought in.
Meanwhile, activist hedge fund Starboard Value, which has been pressing Macy’s to spin off its prized real estate into a separate company for more than a year, is also backing away from its bet on the retailer. Starboard, led by activist investor Jeff Smith, cut its stake in Macy’s by 39% last quarter, though it still owns more than $79 million worth.
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The moves were part of a larger trend of investors ditching retail stocks as that industry continues to post disappointing sales. Besides Macy’s, Einhorn also dumped 28% of his Michael Kors (KORS) stock, while Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund cut bait on Tiffany’s (TIF) in the second quarter. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) sold almost a third of its Walmart (WMT) stock during the period, following a major rally in the discount retailer’s shares this year.
Macy’s has recently taken steps that signal it may be listening to some of Starboard’s suggestions and exploring ways to monetize its real estate, hiring specialists to assess the possibilities as well as adding a real estate expert to its board. And in June, Macy’s announced that its long-serving CEO, Terry Lundgren, would soon step down as the company seeks to curb sales declines and start growing again.
But some investors may not be able to risk waiting for a turnaround that may or may not materialize. Einhorn’s fund suffered one of its worst years ever in 2015, losing more than 20%, and this year it has also been hurt by its investment in renewable energy company SunEdison (SUNE), which filed for bankruptcy in April. The hedge fund manager said at the time he had sold most of his SunEdison stock, and disclosed in the filing Monday that he ditched the rest of it last quarter. He also closed out of his positions in EMC Corp. (EMC), American Capital Agency Corp. (AGNC), and Oil States International (OIS), according to the filing.
At the same time, Einhorn and other top investors increased their bets on healthcare stocks. Einhorn added companies to his portfolio including pharmacy chain Rite Aid (RAD) (which recently agreed to be acquired by Walgreen’s), generic drugmaker Perrigo (PRGO), and drug distributor AmerisourceBergen (ABC). Carl Icahn also bought stock in pharmaceutical company Allergan (AGN) after its share price dropped when its planned merger with Pfizer fell apart during the quarter.