By Svea Herbst-Bayliss
BOSTON (Reuters) -Prominent hedge funds, including Point72 Asset Management and Bridgewater Associates, invested in Twitter during the first quarter, putting them on course to reap big gains early in the second quarter when billionaire Elon Musk unveiled plans to buy the company.
Point72, run by Steven A. Cohen, bought 1.5 million common shares worth $58.8 million while Balyasny Capital Management purchased roughly the same amount, according to regulatory filings and data compiled by Symmetric.io. Holocene Advisors bought $56 million worth of shares and Bridgewater Associates, founded by Ray Dalio, took a stake worth $8.3 million.
Hedge funds DE Shaw & Company and Bandera Partners also purchased millions of dollars worth of shares, adding to the positions they already owned.
The so-called 13F filings show what investors owned on March 31. In early April, Musk made a filing that showed him as a new shareholder - a development that pushed the stock up and down as he unveiled plans for the company.
News that Musk, chief executive officer of electric car maker Tesla Inc, owned 9.2% of the social media platform sent Twitter shares surging more than 30% in early April, offering a bright spot amid the technology sector rout. By the time the company announced in late April that Musk would take Twitter private, the shares climbed higher.
Symmetric.io data show that 20 fund firms increased their Twitter stakes and 11 made new investments during the first three months of the year. While the regulatory filings are backward looking, they are widely watched for investment trends. If shareholders who held positions at the end of March stuck with Twitter in early April, they likely saw big gains.
But there were also prominent investors who moved in the opposite direction, cutting or liquidating positions after the stock price had slipped over months.
They lost faith in Twitter during the first quarter after the stock price lost roughly 36% of its value between October and the end of January.
The filings and data from Symmetric.io show that 32 firms cut their stakes and 37 exited altogether.
Southpoint Capital Advisors exited, selling $138 million worth of stock, while Millennium Management and Citadel each cut their holdings, the filings show.
Representatives for the funds either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Bernard Orr)