John A. Thaler founded JAT Capital in 2007 after leaving Shumway Capital Partners (where he was managing the SCP Omni Fund). JAT started with $200M in money from Chris Shumway and is currently over $3BN and closed to new investors. JAT has been very consistent about maintaining a low net exposure and strives to have a “philosophy of making money on both sides of the book.”
For that reason, analyzing their 13F data must be done with the standard caveats. In the last half of 2011, several media outlets saw that some of the top disclosed positions by JAT were selling off sharply (notably GMCR & NFLX) and immediately speculated about the fund “blowing up”…which turned out to be patently false because the fund’s short book (which is not disclosed) was more than picking up the slack. That said, let’s take a look at what Thaler &Co. did in Q4.
JAT was busy in Q4 adding several new positions in the top 10 including Akami Technologies (AKAM), Ralph Lauren (RL), Union Pacific (UNP), Amazon (AMZN) and Seagate Technology (STX). Lear Corp (LEA) and CBS were significantly increased and JAT’s well-publicized position in Baidu (BIDU) was cut back 69%:
Of JAT’s top 10 positions in Q3, 3 were drastically reduced and 4 were dropped entirely:
Akamai Technology (AKAM) is the interesting new position in Q4 as JAT came right out of the gates with a massive 9% bet, which appears to be paying off. JAT is now one of the biggest institutional shareholders with about 4% of shares outstanding.
CBS (CBS) was in JAT’s portfolio at the end of 2010 and Thaler took the opportunity in 2011 to sell out of that position into strength. It appears that after the selloff in Q3, Thaler reinitated a $38M position only to more than double it in Q4: