Hedge fund titan Viking Global made a $680 million bet on scandal-plagued Wells Fargo

Andreas Halvorsen

One of the world’s largest hedge funds made a huge bet that scandal-plagued Wells Fargo‘s worst days are behind it.

Viking Global, a $US30 billion asset manager founded by Swedish billionaire Andreas Halvorsen, disclosed Monday it had bought 12.3 million shares in the troubled bank, worth around $US681 million, in the second quarter.

The fund also cashed out its stake in JPMorgan Chase, selling 3.7 million shares worth $US325 million, according to Bloomberg.

The filings represent second quarter holdings at Viking, so the firm’s positions could have changed since the end of the quarter.

Wells Fargo has withstood a fusillade of ugly news in the past year, recently agreeing to shell out $US142 million to settle the fake accounts scandal that claimed the job of former-CEO John Stumpf and thousands of other employees.

This summer alone, the bank has come under fire for shady mortgage practices, wrongly charging customers for auto loan insurance, and failing to fully disclose the extent of its fraudulent sales practices. Chairman Stephen Sanger is expected to step down soon.

But the bank’s stock price has largely weathered the storm — it’s down 3.7% in 2017, but is up 10% over the past year.

Viking will be betting that the scandals have already inflicted their damage, and that a board shakeup could set the country’s third-largest bank by assets on a smoother path.

The massive hedge fund, which is based out of Greenwich, Connecticut, has recently endured struggles of its own, facing billions in redemptions from large investors after a rocky 2016.

The firm is having a much stronger 2017, up 9.3% through the end of July, according to Bloomberg.