Famed short-seller Michael Burry took big stakes in regional banks during the first quarter, including the failed lender First Republic before it was bought up by JPMorgan Chase & Co.
His hedge fund, Scion Asset Management, snapped up 150,000 shares, worth about $2 million at the end of the first quarter, according to regulatory filings. Shares of the struggling regional bank had fallen more than 97% this year before it was seized by regulators and sold to JPMorgan in a government-brokered deal on May 1.
Scion also bought 250,000 shares in PacWest Bancorp, whose stock has slumped almost 79% this year amid the broader turmoil in the sector. The fund acquired 125,000 shares of Western Alliance Bancorp during the quarter. The bank’s stock is down about 48% this year.
Burry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Burry rose to fame after predicting the 2008 housing crash and being featured in The Big Short movie and played by Christian Bale. He developed a large social media following for his predictions of looming risks. In January he forecast another inflation spike and said the US was already in a recession.