John Griffin, 47, was second in command at Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management. He launched Blue Ridge Capital in 1996. John Griffin was one of the top hedge fund managers in 2007, returning 65% and pocketing $625 Million. He also made $175 Million in 2005. Blue Ridge Capital lost only around 8% in 2008. John Griffin was probably hurt by his short positions in 2009, returning only 7.7%. His three year average return was 17.83% at the end of 2009.
His investment style is similar to other Tiger cubs who are long/short equity investors with a long bias. We don’t know John Griffin‘s returns in 2010, but 43 stocks that are in his 13F portfolio at the end of 2009 returned 14.6%, underperforming S&P 500’s 15.1% 2010 return. Considering he isn’t usually 100% long, Blue Ridge probably had a mediocre year.
During the fourth quarter John Griffin added 9 stocks to his portfolio. Here is how they performed:
Company Ticker Return Value (Million) CABLEVISION SYS CORP CVC 11.2% 111 GENERAL GROWTH PPTYS INC GGP 1.8% 92 NRG ENERGY INC NRG 6.9% 69 GENERAL MTRS CO GM -0.9% 55 NOVAGOLD RES INC NG 0.9% 55 SOHU COM INC SOHU 32.1% 49 HOWARD HUGHES CORP HHC 2.6% 32 NORTHEAST BANCORP NBN -1.7% 2 TAL ED GROUP XRS -26.1% 2
John Griffin’s new stock picks returned 7.4% since the end of 2010, beating the SPY by 0.4 percentage points. His biggest new stock pick, Cablevision (CVC), is also one of the stocks fellow Tiger cub Chase Coleman has in his portfolio. It’s very common to have several Tiger cubs carrying the same positions. John Griffin was also investing in General Growth Properties, along with Bill Ackman, Bruce Berkowitz, and Whitney Tilson. Blue Ridge added $55 Million of Novagold Resources (NG) shares to its portfolio and to balance this out, cut down their GDX investment by about $30 Million. This can be viewed as a pairs trade. George Soros and John Paulson also like Novagold. John Griffin bought General Motors, joining William Ackman’s Pershing Square, George Soros, David Tepper’s Appaloosa, Roberto Mignone’s Bridger Management, Richard Perry’s Perry Capital, and Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors.
John Griffin also added to some of his positions which performed unbelievably. Netflix (NFLX), Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX), and Ivanhoe Energy (IVAN) returned at least 28% each since the end of 2010. It seems John Griffin is getting his groove back in 2011. Here are his top 40 stock holdings:
Company Ticker Return Value (Million) AMAZON COM INC AMZN 3.6% 382 APPLE INC AAPL 8.7% 364 JPMORGAN CHASE & CO JPM 13.3% 361 MARKET VECTORS ETF TR GDX -4.1% 307 EXPRESS SCRIPTS INC ESRX 5.0% 274 VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INTL VRX 43.1% 246 BP PLC BP 9.5% 222 CITRIX SYS INC CTXS 6.2% 210 CROWN CASTLE INTL CORP CCI -0.1% 210 DOLLAR TREE INC DLTR -6.0% 209 WESTERN UN CO WU 16.6% 187 THERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIC INC TMO 4.2% 186 CIT GROUP INC CIT -8.1% 181 TEVA PHARMACEUTICAL INDS LTD TEVA 0.0% 179 RANGE RES CORP RRC 7.4% 175 CME GROUP INC CME -5.9% 163 DISCOVERY COMMUNICATNS NEW DISCA 5.3% 161 BLACKROCK INC BLK 8.4% 152 MICROSOFT CORP MSFT -2.5% 149 COVANTA HLDG CORP CVA -0.9% 149 BANCO SANTANDER BRASIL SA BSBR -7.9% 145 CREDICORP LTD BAP -14.9% 144 TD AMERITRADE HLDG CORP AMTD 14.9% 131 GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP INC GS -0.1% 131 NETFLIX INC NFLX 34.0% 125 DISCOVERY COMMUNICATNS NEW DISCK 6.4% 116 CABLEVISION SYS CORP CVC 11.2% 111 MGIC INVT CORP WIS MTG -8.4% 101 LIBERTY GLOBAL INC LBTYA 19.2% 98 GENERAL GROWTH PPTYS INC NEW GGP 1.8% 92 ARES CAP CORP ARCC 6.9% 88 LIBERTY MEDIA CORP NEW LSTZA 8.2% 84 NVR INC NVR 9.2% 72 NRG ENERGY INC NRG 6.9% 69 ECHOSTAR CORP SATS 33.8% 66 IVANHOE MINES LTD IVN 20.8% 61 GENERAL MTRS CO GM -0.9% 55 NOVAGOLD RES INC NG 0.9% 55 STARWOOD HOTELS&RESORTS WRLD HOT 7.1% 49 SOHU COM INC SOHU 32.1% 49These 40 stocks account for 96% of Blue Ridge Capital’s portfolio. Their weighted average return since the end of December is 6.4%, underperforming SPY’s 7% return. It seems John Griffin’s long term holdings that are unchanged or reduced caused his returns to lag the market.
He has such a diverse portfolio that it isn’t surprising that his return isn’t much different from the market’s. His best performing stock was VRX, which is also in Andreas Halvorsen’s portfolio. He doesn’t have any Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo shares, but he has JP Morgan (JPM) and Blackrock (BLK) in his portfolio. Bill Miller, Lee Ainslie, Joseph DiMenna, and Stephen Mandel have JP Morgan in their portfolios. Lee Ainslie’s Maverick, John Burbank’s Passport Capital, and Andreas Halvorsen’s Viking Global are other high profile Blackrock investors.