Bill Gates Bought, Steven Cohen Sold Just Before BP's Big Meltdown

-- British Petroleum stopwatch / bomb - Illustration --As you are probably already aware, BP started to melt down shortly after the end of the first quarter.

Since March 31st, 2010, BP's share price has fallen over 50%, and tens of billions of dollars in valuation have been erased.

Seeing as how this used to be a $200 BILLION company, there were many different institutional investors and mutual funds that had (and still have) major stakes in the company.

Some of these investors were fortunate enough to drastically scale back their positions just before the stock started to tank, while others upped their stakes at exactly the wrong time.

Much has been made of the fact that Goldman Sachs Group INC dumped a major portion of their holdings in BP just before the stock crashed. This is true. Goldman dumped 4,887,610 BP common shares in Q1, which amounted to approximately 42% of their existing position. Seeing as how BP has since tanked by over $30 per share, you can easily figure out how much money Goldman Sachs saved by yourself.

SAC Capital Advisors LP had the most fortunate timing when it came to their stake in BP. At the end of Q4/2009, SAC Capital had a 150,000 share stake in BP that was valued at around $8.6 million. During the first quarter, SAC unloaded approximately 94% of their stake - by March 31st, 2010, SAC Capital reported owning just a paltry 8,411 shares of the company. This is fairly small potatoes for a company that currently has billions upon billions of dollars under management, but they still got out at exactly the right time.

Other institutional investors who scaled back their positions in BP during Q1 included:

Delaware Management Business Trust, -155,743 shares, -5% change
Millennium Management LLC, -7,781 shares, -11% change
Two Sigma Investments LLC, -45,159 shares, -16% change
Defiance Asset Management LLC, -30,191 shares, -26% change
Aletheia Research & Management Inc., -69,284 shares, -27% change
Adage Capital Partners GP LLC, -20,000 shares, -14% change


Here are the investors who dramatically INCREASED their stakes in BP just before the start of the meltdown in April:

UBS OCONNOR LLC, +191,153 shares, +247% change
Gateway Investment Advisers LLC, +896 shares, +5% change
Caxton Associates LP, +31,677 shares, +466% change
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, +2,500,000 shares, +54% change

As you can see, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust decided to dramatically increase their stake in BP at exactly the wrong time, and they are now paying dearly for it.


Citadel Advisors LLC opened a new position in BP during the first quarter, but it was a very small 24,895 share position, so their losses have been fairly small (compared to the total amount of assets that they have under management).

Of the 101 institutional investors that we currently track in our database, only one sold all of their shares in BP during the first quarter. That company was Diamondback Capital Management, LLC, who happened to sell their entire 7,900 share stake in BP during the first quarter.


The two leading contenders for the "Best Timing on BP" award? Goldman Sachs and SAC Capital Advisors LP.

The winner of the "Worst Timing on BP" award? The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, and it's not even close.

Filed under: General Market News

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